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November 4, 2011

CA Technologies Ushers in the ‘Era of Now’

Datanami Staff

CA Technologies recently held their CA World 2011 event in Singapore, which went heavy on the concept that we are entering a new shift in IT—the era of now.

On the surface, this seems like a reasonably easy concept in the age of instant everything. We’ve long been living in the era of instant when it comes to just about everything; food, communication, gratification of just about every imaginable sort—but when it comes to IT, there is some added weight to the idea of instant.

As a primer in advance of a more thorough explanation of what the era of now or this evolving third phase of IT really means, CA highlights the big data angle of what is happening in many organizations now.

CA is arguing that we entering the third phase of IT. Before getting to this point, we spent a great deal of time in the purgatory of the first stage, which was a lengthy period of acquiring systems and technologies, often by painstakingly building them within the enterprise. This involved large teams of developers and administrators, which meant that arriving at new solutions could be a process that literally took years, or for small projects, mere quarters.

On the information management front, this first phase meant identifying the big problems within the organization and building discrete, one-dimensional database and other tools to address them as singular entities. As one can imagine, from hardware to software to real value, this was a rather time and labor-intensive process.

The second phase brought a few speedups. In this secondary era, organizations found time to market improved through their ability to buy preconfigured tools and hardware that were matched as closely as possible to their needs. All of this, of course, involved some tweaking, sometimes involving several months.

In terms of data management, this second era brought more pre-made database and analysis tools, but these were limited and for an organization to have anything tailored enough for specific mission-critical problems, this still required an in-house build approach.

This third phase is really shaking things up, however. Now, organizations are not rooted in the time to acquire and setup hardware via the arrival of the cloud as an option. Further, they have many more open tools to choose from as SaaS offerings that can be tweaked like never before.

Even more important is the fact that data itself has changed, and management practices are still catching up. An image scoured from the web can be just as important as a database in-house and many different types of data are all needing to live together.

Organizations have realized that become actionable information, data needs to be brought together for more comprehensive analysis. As we round the corner into this third era (if we haven’t already) the tools will continue to evolve to bring us closer to new technologies that allow for seamless integration of data types, faster than ever processing capabilities, and the ability to make quick, valuable work out of datasets that are variable in every aspect outside of their similar gargantuan size.

The company makes the argument that the clocks of internal organizations are matched against the ever-present challenge of the external clocks. Those internal timepieces, which manage the ebb and flow of data from within the organization are being matched against the external clock—customer expectations, which increasingly hinge on real-time everything. Organizations face a “time change” process to reset their internal clocks to match the ferocious pace that defines CA’s sense o f the era of now.

If you’re into theatrics versus reading, the video below is a rather interesting portrayal of the era of now from the event in Singapore.