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What is Quix?

Quix is a platform for developing and deploying applications with streaming data.

We architected Quix natively around a message broker (specifically Kafka) because we know databases are in the way of building low-latency applications that scale cost-effectively. Instead of working with data on a disk, developers could work with live data in-memory, if broker technologies were easier to use.

But they are not easy to use, especially for Python developers who are at the forefront of data science but cannot easily work with streaming data.

Quix provides everything a developer needs to build applications with streaming data. By using Quix you can build new products faster whilst keeping your data in-memory, helping to achieve lower latencies and lower operating costs.

From the top-down, our stack provides a Web UI, APIs and SDK that abstract developers off our underlying infrastructure, including fully-managed Kafka topics, serverless compute environment and a metadata-driven data catalogue (time-series database with steroids).

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Web UI

With the Quix Portal we are striving to make a beautiful software experience that facilitates DevOps/MLOps best-practices for less-experienced development teams. Our goals are to:

  1. Help less expert people access live data

  2. Help them create and manage complex infrastructure and write application code without support from expert engineering teams, and

  3. Help to accelerate the development lifecycle by enabling developers to test and iterate code in an always-live environment.

To achieve these goals Quix Portal includes the following features:

  • Online IDE: Develop and Run your streaming applications directly on the browser without setting up a local environment.

  • Library: Choose between hundreds of autogenerated code examples ready to run and deploy from our Online IDE.

  • One click deployments: Deploy and manage your streaming applications on production with a simple user interface.

  • Monitoring tools: Monitor in real-time the status and the data flow of your streaming applications.

  • Broker management: Create, Delete, Explore or Configure your message broker infrastructure with just a click of a button.

  • Pipeline view: Visualize your pipeline architecture with the information provided from the deployment variables.

  • Data Explorer: Explore Live and Historical data of your applications to test that your code is working as expected.

APIs

We have provided four APIs to help you work with streaming data. These include:

Stream Writer API: helps you send any data to a Kafka topic in Quix using HTTP. This API handles encryption, serialization and conversion to the Quix SDK format ensuring efficiency and performance of down-stream processing regardless of the data source.

Stream Reader API: helps you push live data from a Quix topic to your application ensuring super low latency by avoiding any disk operations.

Data Catalogue API: lets you query historic data streams in the data catalogue to train ML models, build dashboards and export data to other systems.

Portal API: lets you automate Portal tasks like creating workspaces, topics and deployments.

SDK

Python is the dominant language for data science and machine learning, but it is quite incompatible with streaming technologies (like Kafka) which are predominantly written in Java and Scala.

Our Quix streaming SDK is a client library that abstracts Python developers off streaming-centric complexities like learning Java or dealing with buffering, serialization and encryption.

Instead, SDK serves you streaming data in a data frame so you can write any simple or complex data processing logic and connect it directly to the broker. There are just a few key streaming concepts that you must learn. You can read about them here.

Serverless compute

Quix provides an easy way to run code in an elastic serverless compute environment. It automatically builds code in GIT into a docker image and deploys containers to Kubernetes. This otherwise very complicated procedure is done by a couple of clicks in the Quix web portal.

Architecture

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Git integration

Source code for workspace projects (models, connectors and services) is hosted in GIT repositories. Developers can check out repositories and develop locally and collaborate using GIT protocol. Code is deployed to the Quix serverless environment using tags in GIT. Quix builds service will build selected GIT commit into a docker image.

Docker integration

Each code example generated using the Quix library is shipped with a Dockerfile that is designed to work in the Quix serverless compute environment powered by Kubernetes. You can alter this file if necessary. When you deploy a service with Quix, a code reference to GIT with a build request is sent to the build queue. The build service will build a docker image and save it in the docker registry. In the next step, this image is deployed to Kubernetes.

Tip

If there is any problem with the docker build process, you can check the build logs.

Tip

Hover over the deployment in the deployments page to download the docker image of the deployed service for local testing or custom deployment.

Kubernetes integration

Quix manages an elastic compute environment so you don’t need to worry about servers, nodes, memory, CPU, etc. Quix will make sure that your container is deployed to the right server in the cluster.

We provide the following integrations with Kubernetes:

  • Logs from container accessible in the portal or via portal API.

  • Environment variables allows passing variables into the docker image deployment. So code can be parameterized.

  • Replica number for horizontal scale.

  • CPU limit.

  • Memory limit.

  • Deployment type - Options of one-time job or continuously running service,

  • Ingress - Optional ingress mapped to port 80.

Tip

If a deployment reference is already built and deployed to a service, the build process is skipped and the docker image from the container registry is used instead.

DNS integration

The Quix serverless environment offers DNS routing for services on port 80. That means that any API or frontend can be hosted in Quix with no extra complexity. Load balancing is provided out of the box, just increase the replica count to provide resiliency to your deployed API or frontend.

Warning

A newly deployed service with DNS routing takes up to 10 minutes to propagate to all DNS servers in the network.

Managed Kafka topics

Quix provides fully managed Kafka topics which are used to stream data and build data processing pipelines by daisy-chaining models together.

Our topics are multi-tenant which means you don’t have to build and maintain an entire cluster to stream a few bytes of data. Instead, you can start quickly and cheaply by creating one topic for your application and only pay for the resources consumed when streaming that data. When your solution grows in data volume or complexity you can just add more topics without concern for the underlying infrastructure which is handled by us.

Together with our SDK and serverless compute, you can connect your models directly to our topics to read and write data using the pub/sub pattern. This keeps the data in-memory to deliver low-latency and cost effective stream processing capabilities.

Note

Quix also provides the ability to connect external infrastructure components like your own message broker infrastructure.

Data Catalogue

We provide a data catalogue for long-term storage, analytics and data science activities.

We have combined what we know to be the best database technologies for each data type into a unified catalogue. There’s a timeseries database for recording your events and parameter values, blob storage for your binary data, and a NoSQL DB for recording your metadata.

Our data catalogue technology has two advantages:

  1. It allocates each data type to the optimal database technology for that type. This increases read/write and query performance which reduces operating costs.

  2. It uses your metadata to record your context. This makes your data more usable for more people across your organization who only need to know your business context to navigate vast quantities of data.

In-memory processing

Traditional architectures for applications that need to process data have always been very database-centric. This means that, when you needed to process data and get some value out of it, everything had to pass through a database several times. This approach worked when the amount of data to process was relatively low, and the latency needed was on the scale of "days". But with a world changing to more real-time use cases where you need results on the scale of seconds or nanoseconds, and where you can get millions of IoT devices sending data to process at the same time, traditional database-centric architectures don't scale.

Traditional architecture for data processing

Quix uses a message broker and it puts it at the very center of the application, enabling a new approach for processing data without the need to save and pass all the information through a database. By using in-memory processing, you can persist only the data you're really interested in keeping.

Quix approach for data processing

This approach lowers the complexity and cost of real-time data processing by several orders of magnitude and, in fact, it is the only possible approach when you need to process a huge amount of data per second with low latency requirements.