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Straight Talk

In my last blog post I provided a general introduction to key value stores (KVS). In this post I’m going to explain how InfoFrame Elastic Relational Store (IERS) takes the basic concepts of the KVS and improves upon them to build a database with strong business oriented features.

The main improvement is that IERS is built to process high-speed transactions with full ACID capabilities. As a quick refresher, ACID stands for Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability and refers to the set of properties that deliver reliable processing of database transactions. Atomicity preserves transaction integrity by only allowing complete transactions to be committed, not just parts of transactions. Consistency allows for well-defined rules to control and validate the data before it is written to the database. Isolation verifies that concurrent execution of transactions still results in complete transactions being committed; this is where conflict resolution takes places. Durability means that once a transaction has been committed it will remain intact even in the event of power loss, crashes, or other system errors. IERS offers full ACID support and thus meets the requirements for a business environment processing transactions, which many KVS fail to meet.

Most KVS cannot guarantee the constraints that developers need to place on data in order to preserve consistency. Consistency needs to be handled by the application, which pushes this critical function further away from the database engine and makes it more cumbersome to design the application as the application must now include features the database should handle. On the other hand, IERS provides consistency at the database layer, preserving the high performance of KVS.

Whereas most KVS require database-specific code to be written, IERS uses an industry standard SQL interface. Most KVS platforms don’t support SQL, hence the name NoSQL being used as a term to describe them. Over time, NoSQL as a term has expanded to include next-generation databases with a SQL interface by rebranding itself as “Not Only SQL.” Some industry analysts refer to next-generation databases with a SQL interface as NewSQL. However, the most commonly used database programming language is SQL and many business environments already have a significant investment in SQL. For these reasons, SQL support is one of the most important and most used features of IERS. Using another KVS might require developers to learn a custom API, thus delaying the development process. IERS, with its SQL support, allows developers to get up and running as fast as possible.

Database security is also a requirement in a business environment. IERS provides the same user authentication and table level access management as an RDBMS. In contrast, the typical KVS will push this up to the application layer. IERS also offers full support for user activity logging and can be integrated with a solution like IBM Guardium to provide complete audit trails.

IERS also fully supports range queries, a common database operation that retrieves all records where some value is between an upper and lower boundary. For example, list all customers between ages 8 and 18. A typical KVS cannot support a range query. In fact, a typical KVS only supports queries on the key.

As you can see, IERS contains many enhancements that are typically not found in a KVS. When the database layer lacks such functionality, then it must be implemented in the application layer. This requires the application layer to manage transactions, security, data constraints and consistency. It’s much easier to simply use a database that contains this functionality such as IERS. By including the functionality described in this posting, IERS demonstrates that it is more applicable for use in solving business problems than a typical key value store. The most important of these enhancements is full support for ACID transactions; without ACID there cannot be transactions. Businesses evaluating NoSQL and NewSQL key value stores for a high-speed transaction driven environment will find that IERS more than meets their needs.

To learn more about NEC’s IERS solution visit:  http://goo.gl/TnFkbR

    *Matt Sarrel is a leading tech analyst and writer providing guest content for NEC.


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Key Value Stores are perhaps the most common form of NoSQL and NewSQL databases.  They consist of (surprise!) keys and values and are built from the ground up to store and retrieve these values as fast as possible.  For this reason, a KVS is considered an excellent way to store and retrieve information for high-traffic web sites and other high-performance content, but not the greatest for transaction-driven projects.   According to DB-Engines, key value stores are one of the more popular non-RDBMS databases in use.

Structurally, KVS are the most straightforward of the NoSQL databases and this basic underlying factor accounts largely for why they are so mind-bogglingly fast.  The beauty of a KVS is its simplicity.  Instead of worrying about complex schema and data relationships (as with a traditional RDBMS), a KVS just has to store and retrieve values linked to a key.  The most commonly implemented KVSs include Redis, Riak, and VoldemortNEC’s IERS is built on top KVS with many added enhancements.

It’s easier to understand a KVS if you first look at a traditional RDBMS.  Think of this as a structured and table-based database.  For example, if you’re working with employee data, you’d have a table with columns for each field you wanted to track and a row for each user.  It would look something like this:

ID

First Name

Last Name

1

Homer

Simpson

2

Marge

Bouvier

3

Herschel

Krustofsky

The table approach works well if you have a reasonable number, a few dozen to a few thousand, of people to track.  It also works well if you can do your queries off-line where speed isn’t an issue, and can do your batch processing for reporting at off hours because those reports will take a considerable amount of time.

However, in the big data world we don’t have the luxury of running queries and reports during off-hours.  Whatever it is, in the big data world we need it now.  Not only that, the traditional table shown above may become a big management mess when it’s too big to fit on a single server. Taking the example to a KVS, imagine that you’ve got users instead of employees.  Now you’re talking about millions of records instead of thousands, and they need to be available quickly from around the world 24/7.  When a user logs in, he wants to be able to have instant access to his account.  Plus, not every user record has every bit of information as every other record; some users may provide their phone numbers, some may not.  Each record potentially has a different length and different values.

To store and retrieve this kind of data quickly, you generate a key for each record and then store whatever fields (what would have been columns in the table above) are available.  Each field is comprised of a data name and the data itself.  If you don’t have a particular piece of data, instead of leaving an empty cell in a table you simply don’t store the data name / data combination.

Let’s take a look:

Key: 1

ID: HS

First Name: Homer


Key: 2

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

City: Springfield

Age: 34


Key: 3

Twitter ID: @hkrustofsky

First Name: Herschel

Occupation: Clown

As you can see, users can log in using ID, email, or Twitter ID.  This simply wouldn’t have been possible using a traditional table style RDBMS.  Also, queries need to be built around keys because there are no field (or column) names.  There’s no need to pull data from multiple tables, reformat it and import it into another table just so users with different information stored can log in.

NEC’s IERS takes advantage of the straightforward nature of a KVS.  I blogged about this a few weeks ago when I posted coverage of my interview with Atsushi Kitazawa, the “father” of IERS.  Due to the nature of a storing multiple values associated with a unique key, distributed KVS performance is predictable.  A KVS is usually partitioned to run on multiple nodes.  Because each key is unique, all values associated with a key, regardless of where the values are physically located, are equally accessible. 

So there you have it, an explanation of KVS’s and how they work.  While a KVS forms the foundation of NEC’s IERS, there are plenty of enhancements that take IERS above and beyond what the average KVS is capable of.  In particular, IERS provides a high-performance and consistent environment with transparent scaling for transactions.  My next posting will discuss these advantages and how to make the best use of them when developing for IERS.

To learn more about NEC’s IER’S solution visit:  http://goo.gl/TnFkbR

    *Matt Sarrel is a leading tech analyst and writer providing guest content for NEC.


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NEC Summer Reading List

 

Recently the Irving (TX) Public Library reported a 35% increase in its summer reading program from a year ago. This is good news for kiddos wanting to keep their minds active over the summer break. So that you can also keep your mind active, and because we did not want you to feel left out, we’ve compiled our own summer list of powerful informational topics. You can read or listen to great content and bone up on all things innovative, technical and positive for the society! Check out our sessions:

Solutions for Society

Solutions that make things better for society as a whole. Think about how much safer we are by being able to identify bad guys quickly with our NeoFace® facial recognition solutions. Many innovations positively impact society, from big data to healthcare innovation. Check it out…

From NECToday

What Do Intel’s Youngest Intern and NEC Have in Common?

Joey Hudy is the youngest intern in Intel history. At 16 years old, he has achieved multiple accomplishments including a solar-powered computer submitted at a recent science fair. His personal credo – Don’t be bored, make something – is a commitment from NEC as well.

Biometrics Can Improve Customer Experiences

According to a report from research firm Frost & Sullivan, biometrics is just beginning to gain recognition as a viable solution for customer experience in the retail and hospitality industries.

The biometric market is expected to be worth $6.2 billion by the year 2019, primarily due to the continued adoption of the technology for applications beyond the law enforcement and government arenas. For example, the banking industry has found biometric facial recognition to be quite useful in ATMs.

Big Data to the Rescue

What do Lady Gaga, the FIFA World Cup committee, and major communication companies have in common? Big data! Check out these real-life use cases to learn how big data significantly impacts the lives of just about everyone.

Healthcare Innovation for Improved Patient Experience

The primary objective of any healthcare provider is to focus on the patient. Whether it's a private practice or a large medical conglomeration, the healthcare system needs improved patient communication in order to ensure positive patient experiences.

From NECAM Soundcloud Channel

JPS Heath Network

JPS Health Network is the public healthcare system for Tarrant County and surrounding areas in Texas. Its flagship facility, JPS Hospital, is in Fort Worth and is the only Level-I Trauma Center in the county. The network also includes 42 primary and specialty clinics and health centers throughout the county to serve its population of approximately 2 million citizens. NEC helped JPS upgrade its communications platform to help staff and doctors deliver quality care to its patients.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – Justice Network

The Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET) is a collaborative effort of 16 state agencies to build a secure, integrated justice system that promotes information sharing through the use of its applications, services, architecture, outreach and training.

Case Study: Children’s Hospital of Orange County

Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2013-2014), CHOC is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. 

Software-Defined Everything

The “Internet of Everything” taken to the next logical step – software-defined so it’s proactive, interactive and positive for companies who want to save time, money and improve productivity. Learn more about next-gen systems…

From NECToday

Continuous Availability at an Affordable Cost for Today’s Business

For IT organizations with mission-critical data, as well as large retailers needing to maintain and access data quickly, the requirements for server uptime and processing are even more important. Trying to achieve five nines (99.999%) of uptime is feasible in a clustered data center environment, but often these organizations are better served through the implementation of a fault tolerant (FT) server.

An Introduction to IERS and NoSQL / New SQL

NEC Corporation of America recently announced the general availability in North America of the InfoFrame Elastic Relational Store, a high-performance database built for high availability and flexible scalability.  IERS is a key value store that provides high-speed transaction processing and SQL (structured query language) capabilities through a JDBC/ODBC interface.  

An Interview with Atsushi Kitazawa of NEC Japan, the “Father” of IERS

Everything you wanted to know about IERS, from its position in the world of next-generation databases to its design goals, architecture, and prominent use cases.

From NECAM Soundcloud Channel

The Path to Five 9s of Availability for SQL Server

Get an overview of the different SQL Server high availability technologies from the lowest to the highest levels of availability.

Stay In the Know While On the Go

Mobility is only becoming more prevalent, so check out these great options to learn more about how to keep your mobile workforce productive, secure and well, mobile! Explore on the go…

From NECToday

Under the Sea…with Internet?

Can you imagine a world where ANYTHING is possible? Science fiction movies have depicted it: people living on the moon, on a planet, or under the sea. But now, are we coming closer to fantasy becoming a reality? Perhaps so!

How to Stay ‘Mobile’ During a Severe Weather Event

Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get into the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions, but it also means not losing employee productivity over the course of the weather event.

Get the Best of All Worlds with In-Store Mobile

In-store mobility is the most efficient and accurate way to create the type of retail experience a consumer expects. Plus, it supports associates in providing a rapid response to a shopper’s needs, ensuring that the sale goes to your retail establishment. To understand the power of in-store mobile, first let’s understand the current consumer shopping behavior.

From NECAM Soundcloud Channel

Case Study: Schenectady City School District

Schenectady City School District (SCSD) is located 12 miles from Albany, New York. The district offers hundreds of courses and programs to nearly 10,000 students throughout the city of Schenectady, and has more National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) than any other district in the state, with the exception of New York City.

It’s In the Cloud

Isn’t everything? Truth is that cloud solutions have significant practical applications for most businesses, if you understand how to apply them correctly. Do you need a hybrid, cloud or on-premises solution? Find out the answer to that question and more with these sessions:

From NECToday

Is Your Company Seeking Business Agility? Uncovering the Business Value of SDN

Hear first-hand SDN thought leaders from NEC, IBM and featured analyst firm Gartner Research talk about the business benefits of software-defined networking.

NEC Teams with Microsoft for Flexible, Open, Standards-based SDN for the Cloud

Mike Schutz, general manager of Microsoft Product Marketing for the Server and Tools Group, talks about the collaboration between these strategic partners and the benefits customers can expect in this new video.

Unified Communications: As-a-Service vs. On-Premises – What’s Best for You?

Simplifying communication and collaboration is the hallmark of UC and UCaaS. The good news is you don’t have to choose.

ONF Honors NEC as First Vendor to Certify for OpenFlow 1.0 Conformance

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a user-driven organization focused on the promotion and adoption of Software-defined Networking (SDN) through open standards development, has awarded NEC Corporation (NEC) with the first Certificate of Conformance offered through the ONF’s OpenFlow Conformance Testing Program. A Certificate of Conformance from ONF is the highest level of assurance available in the market today to confirm OpenFlow specification compliance.

NEC Collaborates with Microsoft to Transform the Data Center with Software-Defined Networking

Microsoft and NEC joint customers will command new levels of IT flexibility and automation with dynamic management and allocation of pooled network resources, as well as their compute and storage pools, all from a central point of control.

From NECAM Soundcloud Channel

Webinar: Real-Life SDN Use Cases

This webinar, Real-Life SDN Use Cases, features noted network experts Ivan Peplnjak of iosHints and NEC's network architect Samrat Ganguly. They present real examples of OpenFlow-based SDN at work, and use the NEC ProgrammableFlow® Networking Suite as the market leading vehicle to achieve transformative results.

There is plenty of other great content at your fingertips. Simply check out any one of our content channels and enjoy your own personalized summer reading program!

www.NECToday.com
http://www.youtube.com/interactivenec 
https://twitter.com/nec 
http://www.facebook.com/NECAmerica 
http://soundcloud.com/necam
https://www.linkedin.com/company/nec-corporation-of-america
 


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In the July issue of Business Solutions Annual Guide to POS & Payment Processing, NEC’s TWINPOS G5 point-of-sale (POS) solution was featured in a product review of all-in-one POS terminals. The criteria:

  • Submit a 15-inch, all-in-one POS unit
  • Must be equipped with 2GB of RAM
  • Costs around $1,300 to a dealer (but not exceeding $1,400)

NEC scored well against its competitors, and its POS solution was recommended for use in all categories, including grocery, general and specialty retail. Below are key features that were highlighted in the review:
Processor Speed/Functionality

  • NEC’s POS ranked in the top three for processor and network utilization, largely because of the dual-core processor.

Display/Finish

  • According to the review, the NEC terminal had the “most impressive display,” specifically when it came to resolution and color presentation.

Repair Ease/Time

  • NEC’s solution ranked as one of the top two POS systems that were the easiest to access for repairs.

To learn more about NEC’s retail solutions, visit www.necam.com/retail for more information.


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Can you imagine a world where ANYTHING is possible? Science fiction movies have depicted it: people living on the moon, on a planet, or under the sea. But now, are we coming closer to fantasy becoming a reality? Perhaps so!

Case in point – recently Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of the late Jacques Cousteau, famed underwater photographer and scientific researcher/oceanographer, announced he will make his home under the sea for 31 days, which would outdo his famous grandfather's record of 30 days, which was set nearly 50 years ago.

 Stay connected with NEC solutions

But the challenge is not just some "Harry Houdini" personal challenge the 46-year-old wants to take on. Cousteau will be there will a full team of scientific researchers to study the underwater environment, in an attempt to understand its challenges and unique issues.

When interviewed, the younger Cousteau stated that there would be a number of challenges, both physically and psychologically, but that "the backyard will be infinite."

But perhaps the most interesting thing about this scenario is the fact that, with all of the new technologies available, Cousteau will still be connected to the world through the use of modern communications systems now available to a global market.

NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C™ UC system enables people to communicate “anywhere, anytime from any device.” 3C handles the seamless integration of multiple devices and platforms, and is truly an all-in-one solution to communications in the 21st century.

Some of the features of this innovative technology include:

A software-based solution that allows integration of multiple media aspects, communication, and collaboration is a Godsend for any industry  that needs a way to communicate at different times or even across different time zones. The built-in recording capability is a big plus, as it allows people to record and document events at a moment's notice, no matter where they are located.

It also offers some security, and peace of mind, that, should something go wrong, one could easily alert people from the outside world without having to go to another location.

‘COMMUNICATE ANYWHERE, ANYTIME – UNDER WATER, ACROSS LAND OR… ACROSS THE LOBBY’

The hospitality industry embraces the ease of use, mobility and robust capabilities available with this technology and others. The average traveler is constantly connected, consistently mobile and expects to be plugged in all the time. Or at least have the option to stay in contact while on the move.

Many hotels and motels, resorts, and other locations are starting to implement this technology by offering not only wireless, but integrated communications solutions that allow you access to your virtual desktop from your mobile devices and other portals through the use of Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)and 3C solutions. 

DaaS provides access to your desktop from the cloud, no matter your location.  It is a virtual solution to access information and functionality without physically being at the location where the data resides. NEC's DaaS offering creates a secure gateway between the individual’s location and the virtual desktop, then passes the information back to the person, no matter where he is.

Some newer hotels even have ways for guests to control the room technology without ever leaving their beds, such as thermostats and cooling systems, lights, and even security systems. The ability for guests to interact with technology in their room seems almost space age – but is already here.

THE JETSONS ARRIVE

There's no doubt the world is changing and new technologies enable amazing things which would only have been dreamt of in the past. So, when Jane and George check into a hotel, instead of having to fumble around for their ID and their credit card, a facial recognition solution, such as NEC’s VIP guest recognition system, NeoFace® Watch, will recognize them as they walk up to the front desk. They can use an app to check into their room and may have the option to pay their bill by scanning their fingerprint at the checkout area.  Once inside their room, our couple will be able to control the thermostat, security system, and lights with only a click, while ordering room service with another app on their smart devices. This technology is here and it is an exciting time for anyone wanting to enjoy all of the amenities of home while away.

The future technology available for hotels and other hospitality venues will be on display at the HITEC technology show in Los Angeles from June 23 through 26. We’ll be there showcasing some of these amazing innovations, so please stop by NEC’s booth If you cannot attend, please visit our hospitality solutions page to learn more about technology that helps make your guests more comfortable, and your staff more efficient.

 

 

                                 


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