Three new products have just been rolled out by IBM, including technologies that promise 25 times faster reporting and analytics
. The technologies includes an innovation called "BLU Acceleration," which combines several techniques to improve analytical performance and simplify administration.
Big Blue also announced a new IBM PureData System for Hadoop. Hadoop is the game-changing open-source software used to organize and analyze vast amounts of structured and unstructured data , such as posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, online transaction records, and cell phone location data.
"Big Data is about using all data in context at the point of impact," said Bob Picciano, general manager for IBM Information Management. "With the innovations we are delivering, now every organization can realize value quickly by leveraging existing skills as well as adopt new capabilities for speed and exploration to improve business outcomes."
IBM said BLU Acceleration makes it possible for users to access key information more quickly, which, in turn, leads to better decision-making. The software extends the capabilities of traditional in-memory systems. That extension allows data to be loaded into RAM instead of hard disks for faster performance by providing in-memory performance even when data sets exceed the size of the memory.
According to Big Blue, innovations in BLU Acceleration include "data skipping." Data skipping allows the ability to skip over data that doesn't need to be analyzed, such as duplicate information. Other innovations include the ability to analyze data in parallel across different processors and greater ability to analyze data transparently to the application, without the need to develop a separate layer of data modeling.
Another industry-first advance in BLU Acceleration is called "actionable compression," where data no longer has to be decompressed to be analyzed. During testing, some queries in a typical analytics workload were more than 1,000 times faster when using the combined innovations of BLU Acceleration.
The company also announced a new version of InfoSphere BigInsights, IBM's enterprise-ready Hadoop offering, which makes it simpler to develop applications using existing SQL skills, compliance security and high-availability features vital for enterprise applications.
Just Big Talk?
We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT , to get his take on IBM's new innovations. He told us proponents often describe Big Data as the "next big thing" in IT. By that, he said, they mean it is technology so deeply attuned to the market's current state and emerging needs that it will inspire a transitional evolutionary leap forward analogous to previous transitions, from mainframes to clients/servers to PCs, to the Internet to cloud computing .
"Fundamentally, Big Data technologies arose as the volumes of information organizations create/store -- particularly unstructured and semi-structured data -- became increasingly unwieldy and problematic. Early solutions were specifically designed to address just those problems," King said.
"But truly effective Big Data technologies and strategies must extend beyond that material to encompass the structured information stored and analyzed in traditional relational databases.
"In fact, unless solutions can effectively address and analyze all of an organization's information resources, users risk creating little more than new classes of costly, inefficient information silos. In such cases, so-called Big Data solutions will deliver little more than tactical -- hops rather than the transformative leaps they promise."
King said the essence of IBM's trio of Big Data announcements -- the new DB2 with BLU Acceleration, InfoSphere BigInsights and Streams enhancements, and new PureData System for Hadoop -- demonstrates its three dimensional view of Big Data.
"In contrast to some competitors, the company believes Big Data isn't some new issue requiring emerging or arcane technologies. Instead, IBM views Big Data as a fundamental challenge that stretches across the IT landscape, tangibly affecting the technology market as a whole and businesses of every sort and size," he said. "By successfully developing innovative Big Data solutions across their various spheres of influence, IBM helps its customers pursue and ensure their own success."
All offerings are available in the second quarter, except the PureData System for Hadoop, which will start shipping to customers in the second half of 2013.