Be more effective with your data

Be more effective with your data

In building Raygun we have to deal with a constant stream of exception data (100’s of millions per month) which we structure into errors and occurrences which have a simple 1:N relationship.

A relational database engine is great at set based operations and has a very familiar and powerful querying syntax but we are increasingly facing data challenges where leveraging a relational model doesn’t make as much sense. In building Raygun we have to deal with a constant stream of exception data (100’s of millions per month) which we structure into errors and occurrences which have a simple 1:N relationship.

At first, using a relational model seemed to be a natural fit for this but over time we ran into three general problems:

  1. Querying over the occurrence data was performing poorly despite being strictly index based. E.g. To find all parents where they have a child occurrence matching a particular criteria.
  2. Producing aggregations of occurrence data was too costly to query in real time. Using a pre-aggregated bucket approach would add a massive overhead to our database size.
  3. Searching the data using FTS would require indexing most of the raw payload which is costly both in terms of indexing time and database size and our preference was to use Lucene.

Surely we must just need a more powerful database cluster? More RAM, more CPU? Sure, but what about when we add 10x our data volume?

Scale it up

Rather than just blindly scaling, I always like to look around and see what everyone else is doing incase there is a better way. It turns out these are the type of problems that are handled nicely by ElasticSearch.

big data

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