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April 9, 2012

The Big Data Slice and Dice

Datanami Staff

One of the weightiest challenges of the big data era outside of sheer volume is the variety of data that is flooding enterprise users.

From social media data to real-time streams of interaction information—not to mention all the ho-hum “in stock” data socked away in the data warehouse, there are plenty of possibilities—if only it was easy to mesh it all together for instant insight.

Several companies have emerged, especially those boasting in-memory capabilities (SAP, SAS, IBM, Oracle, etc) for pulling together the variety to create real-time actionable information. Add to the list analytics and IT infrastructure vendor, TIBCO, which says it has a solution that is completely unique in how it solves key weaknesses of in-memory platforms.

Today TIBCO announced that it has devised a solution for users to meld digital, social and event stream data together for real-time processing via its ActiveSpace 2.0 release. The company says that this is the cornerstone of their big data analytics approach as it allows users to “slice and dice data at rest together with data in motion for more in-depth analysis.”

In addition, TIBCO says that this is an “industry-first” technology that will allow real-time operations on transactional, social, general database and other sources of data. While this can be debated since other vendors have offerings that work on different data types for real-time decision-making capabilities, TIBCO says that the difference lies in their approach.

Called the “shared nothing persistence” architecture, TIBCO says that data can be stored either in memory or on disk without the need for running through a central server. They say that since the data can be pulled up quickly without that bottleneck, users will be able to “quickly scale their analysis by adding more servers to the data grid, which scales 1:1 for more data and faster access with every server added.”

According to TIBCO, the problem of data access across in-memory systems has been solved. They say the other key to the new release’s capabilities is that the architecture provides persistent storage, which means it’s possible to shut down all the running processes and then, on the fly, spin them up again without losing data access. This is the biggest challenge when it comes to in-memory platforms, one that they claim hasn’t been addressed fully by others.

As TIBCO said in a statement today, ActiveSpaces 2.0 can be used by itself as a data grid to process and manage high volumes of data in real time, or as a foundational platform for in-depth analysis of big data sets in tandem with Spotfire and Spotfire S+ statistical modeling software. Their claim is that working together, “ActiveSpaces and Spotfire and S+ can help organizations analyze and understand the past while taking contextual action on events in real time.”

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