eHarrmony is set to strengthen its technological base using Hadoop, Spark, Docker and possibly OpenStack. Company CTO Thod Nguyen says eHarmony is trying to evolve into a company that’s able to innovate on the IT front, as well as the dimensions-of-compatibility front.
In conversation with Gigaom, Nguyen expressed that “A big part of [eHarmony’s overhaul] is turning eHarmony’s existing virtualization-centric data center into a private cloud environment, mostly likely running the open source OpenStack cloud software.”
The eHarmony team were also investigating Cloudstack, but according to Nguyen, OpenStack has the advantage due to its scalability. “It gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of sharing storage through the OpenStack Swift component, as part of the software-defined storage solution,” Nguyen said, adding, “The ultimate goal is to really by able to scale the storage exponentially with minimal operational cost, especially related to storage.”
The company is also cutting its web server count to about half from its current 1000 machines. It is installed on top of Cisco USC blade servers.
They are also looking to invest in popular Docker container technology in order to simplify the deployment and management of distributed applications, and that it “may be able to explore the public cloud solution” in certain situations. eHarmony already uses Amazon Web Services for proofs of concept and disaster recovery, he added.
Gigaom reported that eHarmony is moving to a single cluster running the YARN resource- management framework from its former Hadoop environment, which ran on 512-node SeaMicro appliances. Harnessing YARN also means that eHarmony can start looking into real-time and highly-iterative technologies such as Storm and Spark.
Nguyen said “The goal is enabling us to create a data product that actually can deliver the right functionality, the right feature set that’s very engaging to our customers, before our customers even know what they want,” he said. “Instead of waiting for our customer to tell us what they want, we want to deliver [it] to them.”
Given the amount of news coverage surrounding technologies such as Kafka, Spark and Storm, it may seem that eHarmony’s new technology stack is a little old hat. Yet these kind of technologies which allow for interactive data analysis have only recently entered a period of maturation, meaning they’re now a feasible option for interactive and iterative workloads on a large, complex datasets.
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