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Integration on the Edge: Data Explosion & Next-Gen Integration

Hollis Tibbetts

2012 - The Year Cloud Analytics Takes Off

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2012 will be the year that Cloud Analytics hits pay dirt. Increasingly - and at an accelerating rate, data and applications are moving to the Cloud, and the old-fashioned on-premises Business Intelligence stacks are going to be supplanted by a new generation of Cloud-based analytic tools.

Cloud computing traffic is growing at a 66% compound average growth rate and by 2015, Cloud will represent over 1/3 of data center traffic.


Sunset for Traditional BI Vendors

For the on-premises BI vendors, the clock is ticking. Their tool suites are based on old architectures. They're hard to set up, deploy, manage and use. And they're expensive - with entry-level price tags typically $50,000 and heading into the 7-figure range quickly - not including hardware. The clock started ticking years ago for on-premises business application providers - now it's the on-prem BI vendors' turn.

It's not that the Cloud just magically makes things easier and better - it's that Cloud applications have better architectures, with more focus on usability and rapid time-to-value. New Cloud-based applications don't have to deal with 20 years of on-premises legacy code. Almost universally, Cloud-based analytics tools are faster to deploy, easier to use, more productive, and more cost effective. And the SaaS-based "pay as you go" pricing models that allow customers to scale their spending up (or down) as they see the benefits of the software is a stark contrast to the world of on-premises software, which continues to be dominated by license fees and yearly maintenance fees.

Unlike older on-premises stacks with implementation timeframes measured in months, the new Cloud-based BI systems have implementation timeframes measured in days to a few weeks.

2012 and Beyond - Cloud Analytics

One great example of why 2012 will be the "Year Cloud Analytics Takes Off" is a San Francisco-based Cloud-based Analytics company, Birst. Yesterday, they announced an in-memory business analytics database - the first Cloud-based one that I'm aware of.

And priced at just a fraction of old-architecture on-premises products like Oracle's Exalytics - which comes bundled with a hardware-intensive appliance (4-socket, 48-core server with 1 Terabyte of DRAM). According to OracleOptimization.com, the list price for an Oracle Exalytics machine with software is $9.5 Million - which does not include yearly maintenance of $2.1 million. Truly a shocking sum to spend before you even prove the benefit of the software.

As someone who occasionally makes recommendations on software purchases, I could never propose a software solution where the amount of money spent on the software was not closely linked to the value derived from the software. SaaS pricing models are the only way to go.

Birst's New Architecture

Birst's new product is not only in-memory, but it's also a columnar data store - which has proven itself as the architecture of choice for extremely rapid query response times.
As a general rule of thumb, access to data on disk is about 10 milliseconds and access to data in RAM is about 100 nanoseconds -meaning that a disk access is 1,000 times slower.

Of course, all modern databases use extensive memory caching algorithms, but you can't get past that 1,000x disadvantage no matter what you do (unless you put the entire database in-memory like Birst does).

Birst combines these two significant technologies - which means that users will be able to ask "business questions" of significant data sets (upwards of a Terabyte) that would bring a traditional relational database (even a multi-million dollar system like a Teradata or a big Netezza) to its knees.

Traditional BI Architectures a Failure

Gartner has recently stated that even 3 years from now, over 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will still fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage. Traditional BI architectures have not demonstrated the ability to solve 2007's data problems. I have no faith in their ability to solve the much larger data problems of 2012 and beyond.

Changing the Nature of Business Intelligence

Products like Birst will allow corporations to put data in the hands of business analysts and give them unfettered access to the data necessary to make critical business decisions.

To date, business users continue to be limited in their ability to access data - either they only have access to pre-computed dimensions, can only run certain queries, or access to data is simply only granted to a very small number of "data experts".

Birst, and other companies like it, are blasting apart this limitation - opening up the kind of ad-hoc analysis of data by business users that could never be done before. And at a price point that makes it affordable to organizations of nearly any size.


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This blog offers an informed and informative perspective on the ongoing explosion of data and the technologies used to turn this data explosion into assets and competitive advantages.

Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell's Global Software Group. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. His latest communication venture is http://OnlineBackupNews.com - a free resource site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems by providing online backup best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

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