Medialets Architecture - Defeating the Daunting Mobile Device Data Deluge
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 9:02AM
Todd Hoff in Example

Mobile developers have a huge scaling problem ahead: doing something useful with massive continuous streams of telemetry data from millions and millions of devices. This is a really good problem to have. It means smartphone sales are finally fulfilling their destiny: slaughtering PCs in the sales arena. And it also means mobile devices aren't just containers for simple standalone apps anymore, they are becoming the dominant interface to giant backend systems.

While developers are now rocking mobile development on the client side, their next challenge is how to code those tricky backend bits. A company facing those same exact problems right now is Medialets, a mobile rich media ad platform. What they do is help publishers create high quality interactive ads, though for our purposes their ad stuff isn't that interesting. What I did find really interesting about their system is how they are tackling the problem of defeating the mobile device data deluge.

Each day Medialets munches on billions of new objects embedded in a stream of terabytes of raw event data flowing in from millions of mobile devices. All that data must be: generated on the mobile device; transmitted over lossy connections punctuated by long periods of disconnection; crunched; made available to reporting systems; fed back into control systems that must be able to respond within milliseconds to requests. 

This will become a common paradigm for systems featuring mobile devices. The question is, how you can make it happen?

Now that's interesting.

To help us understand more about how Medialets works, Joe Stein, Engineering Manager for Server Platforms at Medialets, was kind enough to talk to me about what they are doing. Joe also runs an excellent Hadoop podcast and blog called All Things Hadoop, check it out.

Joe has worked on this problem a lot and has some great ideas on how to build an effective mobile data cruncher using tools like Hadoop, MySQL, HBase, Cassandra, Ruby, Python, and Java...


What is Medialets?

Medialets delivers rich media advertising to mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Android. Rich media means advertisements can be complex applications that embed, using a SDK, event generation and advertising functionality. The idea is that ads run inside the platform and instead of being lame adsense type ads, these can be fully interactive while providing the same brand quality they have on TV, except it's on the mobile device. Applications can have you do things like shake the device or play a little football game with Michael Strahan. All this activity generates data that must be streamed back to their server farm for processing.

In addition to advertising they also provide very elaborate app based analytics for their publishers.  

To see examples of their ads go here

The Stats


Open Source Systems & Tools In Production



Lessons Learned

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