Monday, December 9, 2013

Domino, a Python PaaS for data science

By Vasudev Ram

Domino ( is a new Platform as a Service (PaaS) for data science. It supports Python, the R language and Matlab.

I saw it via a retweet by Cameron Laird (@Phaseit).

I signed up and tried Domino, using their sample Python project. It prints "hello", and plots a simple graph using matplotlib.

To do this, I had to download their command-line tool called domino; this is a one-time task. Then I used it to download the project to my PC.

Then I ran it on Domino, with "domino run". This gives you a message that the run has started on their server, and prints a link where you can check the status of the run. The run command will also upload the project files if they are newer on your machine than on Domino. Running "domino" gives the help for the command, and they also have a help section on their web site with a lot of info.

I did encounter a couple of issues, one is fixed, the other is minor and will soon be fixed.

Here is a screenshot of the results:

They have an interactive web wizard that guides you through the steps of creating and running your first project, even though the steps are quite simple. And that is one thing I like about Domino. They seem to be trying to take the pain (and routine work) out of deployment and running of apps in the cloud. In fact, that's what they say on their home page, or words to that effect. Also, I've exchanged several emails with the founders, regarding various questions I had about Domino and its capabilities, and their responses have been prompt and helpful.

Domino also emails you a notification when the run ends, with a link you can click to see the results page, including the output, which you can download.

I was interested to see that Domino uses Docker, which has been in the news a lot lately.

Docker on Wikipedia.

An article on about Docker: Docker: A 'Shipping Container' for Linux Code

Domino uses Docker - a post by Domino on the Docker blog.

[ Update: I checked a bit more and saw that Docker uses LXC (LinuX Containers), which in turn use cgroups, a Linux kernel feature originally written by two people at Google. according to Wikipedia. ]

Domino Data Lab on Twitter.

One of their tweets (in response to a query) says, "Perl coming soon. C on the list".

- Vasudev Ram - Dancing Bison Enterprises

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