30 Aug Why in memory computing changes everything.
In memory computing is a truly transformational technology that revolutionizes analytics and database, the technologies that underpin a thinking enterprise. It manages this via analysis of large raw data at historically astonishing speeds in local memory as opposed to a disk based database. At a granular level storing information in columnar format enables in memory computing. This allows compression and storage of extremely large amounts of information in main memory. Combine this with parallel processing on multiple cores and data intensive calculations in the database layer as opposed to the application layer and the result is lightning fast processing. There is no reading or writing to database. This speed has dramatic effect on the costs of computing and the simplicity with which the decision making process occurs and has a powerful transformational effect by enabling decision making in real time. If your organization collects enough data it is not a question of “if” but “when” you will adopt in memory computing.
We’ve just used the words transformational, astonishing, dramatic and powerful in the last paragraph. Is the hype justified? First of all it is not hype. According to Gartner by 2012 10% of medium to large organizations were already using some form of in-memory computing. The technology is over a decade old and is proven. Over fifty software vendors already offer in memory computing. And yes the buzz is justified. The shifting to powerful real time decision making enabled by in memory computing has clear immediate positive impacts on profitability, customer service and operational efficiencies. The long term impact can make you dizzy with the possibilities. Imagine running your entire organization in memory with only flash storage as backup. That means storage as a component of computing disappears forever and is relegated to backup. And if an application runs a hundred times faster on your server; you can fit more applications on that server! Combine this with miniaturizing trends and by 2030 your entire datacenter is one server with in memory computing, your backup is another server sitting next to it and your disaster recovery is a real time mirrored server in another location over a hundred kilometers away. That’s it! No DC’s, no special air conditioning requirements… Nothing. That is the future.
Even now large in memory computing installations mean lack of storage engineers and their costs, tremendous power benefits as spinning discs that read and answer queries are eliminated (In memory computing uses 99% less power than traditional disc based databases) and this makes the TCO of an in memory computing investment justified.
Okay so we’ve established in memory computing as an exciting technology with profound impact on computing but what does it actually mean for business? An analogy our favorite Gartner analyst often uses is that of an airline. Imagine Pakistan’s national carrier PIA wanting to make more money. Currently it re-prices its tickets every few days relying on tiers of classes for costs. Once a certain minimum yield is achieved the pricing shifts to another tier. Meanwhile people are looking at pricing and booking tickets at any time before flight. Family travelers will likely book way in advance to get cheaper flights. Business travelers usually book a week to a day in advance. Some switch airlines because tier pricing makes tickets expensive. With in-memory computing PIA can re-price tickets EVERY TIME a ticket is sold! This means you start charging higher based on need earlier allowing you to maximize revenue on high traffic flights and allowing you to salvage low traffic flights by achieving minimal yield quickly. Instead of using formulas for tier pricing you see customer flight patterns in real time allowing you to constantly optimize route and travel times. The flight from Karachi to Multan is booked low and in danger of being cancelled? How about sending sms’s to your 2 million customer database of a special offer? Good luck getting that message out quickly conventionally. With in memory computing your messaging is real time and high performance. In memory changes an operational workflow into something that can transform your business. If you have multiple manufacturing units and need to do a capacity analysis for a sudden order of 2 million units, or a fashion retailer who wants to capitalize on trends and needs 12 seasons a year for store replenishment, in memory computing makes it possible.
A few years someone came up with an unyielding term SOLOMO to describe the convergence of trends that define businesses; SOcial, LOcal, MObile. Social networks and collaborative environments along with the trend for location based marketing and mobility have forever changed how businesses interact with their customers and make money. This coming together of forces creates a lot of data and gives an edge to organizations who can analyze and act on that data real time. In memory computing is not just a technology. It’s a technology that changes everything because it makes you win.
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