Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Industrial IoT

Microservices Expo: Article

The In-Memory Technologies Behind Business Intelligence Software

Understanding the in-memory technologies that are used in Business Intelligence software

If you follow trends in the business intelligence (BI) space, you'll notice that many analysts, independent bloggers and BI vendors talk about in-memory technology.

There are technical differences that separate one in-memory technology from another, some of which are listed on Boris Evelson's blog.

Some of the items on Boris' list are just as applicable to BI technologies that are not in-memory (‘Incremental updates', for example), but there is one item that merits much deeper discussion. Boris calls this characteristic ‘Memory Swapping' and describes it as, What the (BI) vendor's approach is for handling models that are larger than what fits into a single memory space.

Understanding Memory Swapping
The fundamental idea of in-memory BI technology is the ability to perform real-time calculations without having to perform slow disk operations during the execution of a query. For more details on this, visit my article describing how in-memory technology works.

Obviously, in order to perform calculations on data completely in memory, all the relevant data must reside in memory, i.e., in the computer's RAM. So the questions are: 1) how does the data get there? and 2) how long does it stay there?

These are probably the most important aspects of in-memory technology, as they have great implications on the BI solution as a whole.

Pure In-Memory Technology
Pure in-memory technologies are the class of in-memory technologies that load the entire data model into RAM before a single query can be executed by users. An example of a BI product which utilizes such a technology is QlikView.

QlikView's technology is described as "associative technology." That is a fancy way of saying that QlikView uses a simple tabular data model which is stored entirely in memory. For QlikView, much like any other pure in-memory technology, compression is very important. Compressing the data well makes it possible to hold more data inside a fixed amount of RAM

Pure in-memory technologies which do not compress the data they store in memory are usually quite useless for BI. They either handle amounts of data too small to extract interesting information from, or they break too often.

With or without compression, the fact remains that pure in-memory BI solutions become useless when RAM runs out for the entire data model, even if you're only looking to work with limited portions of it at any one time.

Just-In-Time In-Memory Technology
Just-In-Time In-Memory (or JIT In-Memory) technology only loads the portion of the data into RAM required for a particular query, on demand. An example of a BI product which utilizes this type of technology is SiSense.

Note: The term JIT is borrowed from Just-In-Time compilation, which is a method to improve the runtime performance of computer programs.

JIT in-memory technology involves a smart caching engine that loads selected data into RAM and releases it according to usage patterns.

This approach has obvious advantages:

  1. You have access to far more data than can fit in RAM at any one time
  2. It is easier to have a shared cache for multiple users
  3. It is easier to build solutions that are distributed across several machines

However, since JIT In-Memory loads data on demand, an obvious question arises: Won't the disk reads introduce unbearable performance issues?

The answer would be yes, if the data model used is tabular (as they are in RDBMSs such as SQL Server and Oracle, or pure in-memory technologies such as QlikView), but scalable JIT In-Memory solutions rely on a columnar database instead of a tabular database.

This fundamental ability of columnar databases to access only particular fields, or parts of fields, is what makes JIT In-Memory so powerful. In fact, the impact of columnar database technology on in-memory technology is so great, that many confuse the two.

The combination of JIT In-Memory technology and a columnar database structure delivers the performance of pure in-memory BI technology with the scalability of disk-based models, and is thus an ideal technological basis for large-scale and/or rapidly-growing BI data stores.


The ElastiCube Chronicles - Business Intelligence Blog

More Stories By Elad Israeli

Elad Israeli is co-founder of business intelligence software company, SiSense. SiSense has developed Prism, a next-generation business intelligence platform based on its own, unique ElastiCube BI technology. Elad is responsible for driving the vision and strategy of SiSense’s unique BI products. Before co-founding SiSense, Elad served as a Product Manager at global IT services firm Ness Technologies (NASDAQ: NSTC). Previously, Elad was a Product Manager at Anysoft and, before that, he co-founded and led technology development at BiSense, a BI technology company.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
‘Trend’ is a pretty common business term, but its definition tends to vary by industry. In performance monitoring, trend, or trend shift, is a key metric that is used to indicate change. Change is inevitable. Today’s websites must frequently update and change to keep up with competition and attract new users, but such changes can have a negative impact on the user experience if not managed properly. The dynamic nature of the Internet makes it necessary to constantly monitor different metrics. O...
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
One of the biggest challenges with adopting a DevOps mentality is: new applications are easily adapted to cloud-native, microservice-based, or containerized architectures - they can be built for them - but old applications need complex refactoring. On the other hand, these new technologies can require relearning or adapting new, oftentimes more complex, methodologies and tools to be ready for production. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, Solutions Marketi...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Today companies are looking to achieve cloud-first digital agility to reduce time-to-market, optimize utilization of resources, and rapidly deliver disruptive business solutions. However, leveraging the benefits of cloud deployments can be complicated for companies with extensive legacy computing environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, founder and CEO of Metavine, will outline the challenges enterprises face in migrating legacy solutions to the cloud. He will also prese...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?