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Does Your Database Have The Need For Speed?

Three major data platform providers revealed this week key additions to their offerings that will support the processing of large volumes of records or the analysis of real-time, event-driven data.

The first came Monday from Microsoft, which disclosed that an updated version of its SQL Server 2008 database, code-named "Kilimanjaro," will support real-time data feeds for business intelligence (BI), reporting and analytics. The company made the announcement at its Tech-Ed conference in Los Angeles.

SAP announced yesterday at its annual Sapphire conference in Orlando that it launched BusinessObjects Explorer, which initially will let users search SAP-based data warehouses running on SAP's NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) and, later in the year, all data within the enterprise.

Using traditional Web-type searching techniques such as entering key words, SAP says users can query millions of records and render information and reports in a matter of seconds, based on in-memory processing technology co-developed by Intel.

The third announcement came today from IBM. Big Blue announced what it calls System S. IBM, which made the announcement at its annual investor briefing today, says System S lets business users analyze massive amounts of data in real time. The initial release will link to its DB2 database server, WebSphere Front Office and solidDB caching infrastructure and will run on Linux-based blade servers. What remains to be seen is when IBM will link it to its InfoSphere Balanced Warehouse.

The notion of complex event processing is nothing new. Many companies in life sciences and in financial services use CEP for various high-volume applications such as algorithmic trading. Companies such as Aleri (which recently acquired Coral8), Progress Software and Streambase, among others have offered such tools for several years.

Streambase founder and CTO Richard Tibbetts tells me he believes Microsoft's entry will be well suited for real-time data warehouses. "But it's not the same as building applications that detect event patterns and respond with low latency," Tibbetts says. That IBM, Microsoft and SAP are going down that path is not surprising. "There's a lot of interest in complex event processing," he says, "so they are trying to find ways to lead with that."

Nagui Halim, director of stream computing at IBM, says Big Blue is hardly just jumping on the bandwagon. Some 80 developers, engineers, and scientists have worked together on this project since 2003. "We have a more than average component of academic and research kind of activity going into this whole thing," he says, noting that IBM has several hundred patents on System S and a number of customers including The Marine Institute of Ireland, TD Securities, and University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

"The fact that there's lots of interest in the community is indicative of the fact that we really probably are at an inflection point that there are many systems going to be designed to go after these topics," he says.

Is your data driven app showing the need for speed? What's your take on these new developments? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/13/2009 at 1:15 PM


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