In-Memory Computing Future Looks Bright(er)

Much like Monty Python’s Black Knight and “It’s only a flesh wound”, ScaleOut Software is proclaiming Reports of Scale-Out’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated. The vendor, which focuses on the in-memory data grid (IMDG) market, recently blogged that scale-out is an integral element of mission-critical deployments.

“It’s not either-or — scale-out is here to stay. However, it’s absolutely true that maintaining support for the latest memory and processor technology is crucial to reaping the benefits of scale-up, integrating it with scale-out, and thereby maximizing performance, availability, and cost-effectiveness.”

In a recent interview with ScaleOut CEO Bill Bain, who has worked at Bell Labs, Intel, and Microsoft, the serial entrepreneur – he started up three previous companies – said , using RAM instead of disk, is going to be very hot topic this year and going forward. “It’s what we recognized in the beginning and the marketplace finally caught up to our vision”, he said.

Talking about in-memory back in February analyst John Myers, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), used a phrase that predates Monty Python, “Memory is the mother of all wisdom” (Aeschylus). “It is entirely possible that in-memory databases will be that gateway to all “wisdom” as memory capacity continues to rise and memory prices continue to decline.”

Fast forward to two weeks ago and Gartner included in-memory data grids as one of the new offerings drawing growing interest. ‘The need for web scale and operational intelligence is paving the way for the adoption of in-memory computing technology and is boosting the rapid growth of in-memory computing vendors. Adoption of these new technologies poses formidable new challenges to IT departments, but those who do not have the nerve to tackle them and become change agents will risk being marginalized as more IT budgets move toward lines of business and departments within the organization.’

In April Gartner released Cool Vendors in In-Memory Computing Technologies, 2014, stating that application architecture leaders should master IMC architectures and technologies, or ‘run the risk of undermining their organizations’ ability to leverage digital business opportunities.’ Key findings included:

-IMC technology is increasingly emerging as a key enabler for the digital business by empowering the agility, Web-scale processing and fast decision making needed to respond to the business challenges of the digital era;

-innovation in IMC continues unabated across the entire spectrum of IT markets: from hardware to application infrastructure to packaged applications;

-IMC’s impact is increasingly manifesting as notable innovation in business processes. Well-established examples include manufacturing resource planning, corporate performance management, dynamic pricing and supply chain planning (SCP). Even more dramatic innovation will emerge as more IMC-enabled packaged business applications are released in the market; and,

-despite megavendors’ overwhelming rhetoric, innovation in IMC technology and its application is still largely driven by small, IMC-focused vendors that frequently anticipate trends and out-innovate established players. Consequently, partnerships between IMC pure players and traditional providers is destined to increase and will lead to a flurry of acquisitions.

According to a recent study from, (IMC) In-Memory Computing Market: IMDB, IMDM, IMDG & IMAP Analyzed, as the industry is witnessing a sharp rise in transactional and analytical requirements for voluminous big data, IMC solutions are fast finding a place in almost every database warehousing and analytics application. When it comes to faster analysis of data, traditional disk-based systems lag behind, and require a lot of physical space to store massive volume of data. Under such circumstances, when enterprise data is growing to the level of terabytes and petabytes, becomes very difficult. Apart from voluminous data, requirements for massive parallel processing has increased, which has further increased the demand for technologies with higher processing speed.

The IMC market is dominated by such vendors as , , , and Qliktech. In addition to ScaleOut, other key innovators identified in the report include , and .

Speaking of SAP and its all-in-memory approach to its HANA platform, speed matters, noted Evan Quinn, Senior Principal Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. “20x data loading performance improvements, processing complex queries sub-second, and not having to choose between read and write optimization are examples of the speed improvements.”

As with most technology terms gaining popularity, there are a lot of companies draping themselves in the in-memory flag, many of them looking to speed up static processes, said Bain. “We’re talking about operating on live data that is changing right now. It’s data that is changing and we are analyzing it in real time”.

There are a number of areas that will benefit from IMC, including security, he said. “With this technology, there are applications that are numerous… but we think will be an integral part of data processing going forward.”

Author: Steve Wexler

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