Go for the Gold with Linux on Power for Big Data

Go for the Gold with Linux on Power for Big Data

What would it mean for your business to run like a gold medal-winning Olympic team? All your business processes would be in top condition. You would outpace your competitors in terms of innovation. You would hit your customer conversion targets and set records for customer loyalty.

The truth is, your business can use the same techniques Olympic teams have been using to improve their performance and win medals.

Using Big Data to Win Gold

Forbes reports that the British Olympic rowing team has been increasing their use of data analytics to boost performance. Recently, the UK rowing team has extended a gold-winning streak that began in 1984 by using analytics to process data about everything from wind and water conditions to athletes’ training regimens and past performance statistics. With this data, coaches can even predict warning signs about potential injuries in time to prevent them.

At the 2012 London Olympics, the US women’s cycling team used data analytics to win silver. They monitored behavior affecting performance, including what they ate, how they slept, environmental conditions, and training regimens. One athlete performed better when she slept in the cold, so they started keeping her bedroom at a certain temperature.

To be a medal-winning business, you need to combine high-capacity storage with a high-performance operating system. With this combination, you can store massive amounts of data and use analytics applications to process it for insights.

Improving Performance with Data
Just as Olympics teams chart performance data gathered during training sessions or competitions, your business generates data about internal operations, marketing trends, and customer interactions. Internal data can be used to increase the efficiency of business processes and boost employee performance. Business Intelligence data lets you know what processes are working well and which ones need to be improved.

External data gathered through customer interactions can be used to improve customer experience. Each interaction tells you information about customer preferences so you can customize offers and promotions.

Gathering data is only part of the battle. You need the analytics capabilities provided by high-performance applications designed to make sense of data and gain the insights you need to drive your business.

Stand on the Winner’s Platform of Linux on Power

To make sense of data, your business needs the right platform to develop and run high-performance data analytics applications. Linux running on POWER8 provides the amount of threads needed to absorb big data. POWER8 offers 4x more memory bandwidth and 4x more cache than x86 servers. Linux on Power also performs twice as fast as Linux running on x86 servers, meeting the low latency, high throughput demands of big data.

With Linux on Power, your business harnesses the capabilities of open-source data management, the standard for application development. Gartner’s 2015 Open Source: The New Data Standard report found that 70% of new in-house applications will be developed in an open-source database management system. Using Linux as an operating system also ensures that the high-performance data analytics applications you develop will run optimally.

Join Team OpenPOWER
When you use Linux on Power, you become part of a winning team by gaining access to applications developed by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) for open source databases. More than 2,300 ISVs support Linux on POWER applications.

You also open your business up to innovations created by the OpenPOWER Foundation. The OpenPOWER Foundation is made up of more than 200 companies across 24 countries and announced 50 new innovations just this year. Their community is dedicated to developing new open source solutions through free collaboration.

The Gold Standard for Analytics

With Linux on Power, your business moves to the forefront of analytics innovation. Most dramatically, Linux on Power gives your business systems the cognitive ability to learn and reason using data. Linux on Power can store massive amounts of data and process it using machine learning and natural language processing. Its cognitive powers uncover connections between topics and understand the sentiments that drive customer and client decision-making processes.

By adopting Linux on Power, your business can work “Faster, Higher, Stronger” like a medal-winning Olympic team. The superior storage capacity and memory of POWER8 teams up with the performance capabilities of the Linux operating system to store and process big data so your company becomes unbeatable.

Process Data Faster to Deploy Today’s Applications

Is your business soaring ahead by inventing new applications or are you caught in a holding pattern? Developing and deploying applications gives your business a competitive edge and can be a key source of revenue. As a result, companies are working to develop custom applications that meet the unique needs of their users and customers.

Your business may be lagging behind its innovation goals because the rise of mobile device use is creating challenges for your application developers. Nielsen found that 89% of time spent on mobile is spent using applications. To develop and deploy successful mobile applications, you need to be able to access real-time data so you can understand what your customers and clients want. You also need to be able to adapt applications so you can take advantage of the omni-channel user experience.

HubSpot cites Bank of America as a company that has set the bar for other banks by developing applications for a variety of devices. Currently, customers can deposit checks and make appointments on mobile devices or desktops. This type of versatility is crucial because people use multiple devices to interact with companies. They expect a seamless experience as they move between devices and with the physical location itself.

The Limitations of Disk-based Technology

To design custom applications that meet the current needs of consumers, you need to gain a complete view your customers through the data they leave behind. The right kind of data processing is required to make sense of the unstructured data customers produce through text, video, and images.

Disk-based technology has difficulty processing the variety of information that comes from customer interactions because it can only process different types of data in silos. This slows down the storage, processing, and accessing of data. By the time you access the data, it may no longer be relevant. For instance, you may become aware of a seasonal trend or need after its time has passed.

Slower response times when customers are using applications also result in frustrating user experiences. Today’s customers want results on demand. The more difficult it is for them to access information and services, the more likely they are to go somewhere else for what they want.

Finding an Alternative to Disk Processing

Unlike disk processing, in-memory processing can handle data that comes in a variety of forms from multiple sources.  Understanding of user behaviors can be quickly gathered from interactions with social media, a website, or mobile application. The most frequently used data for your applications can be stored in-memory so it is easy to access. This accelerates the application development and deployment process without having to sacrifice functionality or security.

Forrester found that companies that used in-memory platforms to build and deploy applications were able to produce software that could access real-time data and process it using predictive data analytics. These functions empower companies to make well-informed and timely decisions about how to improve business processes and improve user experiences.

Optimize Application Development with the Right Platform

To keep innovating, companies need to enlist an application platform that takes advantage of in-memory processing. Forrester declared SAP a leader in in-memory database platforms, citing its integration with HANA as a primary reason for its popularity.

SAP HANA is a comprehensive solution that combines database, data processing, integration service, and application development capabilities into one platform. Unified management accelerates development time so you can speed your application to market. SAP HANA runs on POWER8, so you can handle the performance demands of big data. Read the success stories of companies that use SAP HANA with POWER8.

With SAP HANA, you gain the power of a cutting-edge development platform without having to reinvent the wheel. You can use the same development skills to develop applications with the same architecture as traditional applications. The difference is in the speed, ease-of-use, and functional complexity of the applications.

The innovative features of SAP HANA include:

  • A columnar store that compresses data and accelerates read and write operations.
  • Advanced hardware that eliminates the need for special coding skills.
  • Advanced services and libraries, including a predictive analytics library.
  • Consumer-grade user interfaces that are compatible with any device.

These unique features set SAP HANA apart from its competitors in the application platform market. The decision of whether or not to use SAP HANA as your application development platform could make the difference between becoming a leader in innovation and falling to the back of the pack.

It’s Never as Good as You Think it is

Our world of IT is dynamic, complex, always changing and convoluted. And that’s just what happened today. In all seriousness, I believe one of the reasons we all chose the IT profession (in whatever capacity we are in), is actually because of those reasons. People that are looking for uneventful days or careers generally don’t choose IT. Nor would I recommend it to them. So much changes in what we do: new technologies to be evaluated and implemented quickly, many different types of technologies and environments to support, best practices changing where accepted practices from the past might be frowned upon now, and on top of that IT departments are tasked not with just supporting IT, but helping the organizations they serve make money with said IT. That’s a lot put on the plate of IT.

Considering all of the items I listed above (and the many others I didn’t) how can you be sure that you are doing the right thing by IT and your organization? And for those that think that have it all absolutely figured out: it’s never as good as you think it is. What do I mean? How could it be?

With new technologies and ways of doing things always on the Horizon within IT, how can you be sure you are doing it right? I feel one of the most important things that we do is the remain prudent about what we do. No left turns. Don’t abandon the tried and true methods of using IT in terms of technologies, software and services. Evaluate new technologies for your organization but be careful of moving too far out there too quickly.

I’ll give an example of our company. We are a 34 old IT solution and solutions provider that evolved smartly. We started selling what organizations needed on the desktop environment, which evolved into the servers and networks for the datacenter environment, which evolved into driving efficiencies through servers and storage consolidation, followed by virtualization, which led to further consolidation, which led to Cloud, which then was followed by efficiencies through operational management of data center environments, which was followed helping provide security solutions to help environments be more secure. All of these were natural and prudent progressions from the previous and made sense. As I said before: no left turns.

The same principle applies with how you should evaluate, implement, support and staff your IT environments. Evolve and evaluate smartly as you move forward. We’ve seen it time and time again throughout the years where an organization makes a radical decision to move from one platform to another (technology or software) that was such departure from what they were doing that we at times were left shaking our heads. And more times than not, we’ve seen those decisions not work out the way that was expected, as the decision was not made prudently. They didn’t evaluate everything in detail, including the impact upon the organization, the true cost (not just upfront costs) and the desire and gumption of the organization to move in a new direction. Let me be clear: I am not saying that change is not a good thing, but it just need to be done smartly, that’s all. And it’s not easy. Otherwise the risk is there of blaming the technology or software, when in reality it was the organization that wasn’t ready for it. As I’ve said, we’ve seen this many, many times.

So how do you alleviate that? Well of course by doing the best due diligence possible so you understand what where you are looking to go, how much it will cost upfront and over time, how you will support it, how you need to staff it, and how it will help make money and provide value to the organization. No small task here. If you need help, then certainly engage one of your trusted partners to provide you with an outside perspective. They will help to guide you based upon their experiences and what they seen with other organizations is similar situations and there is great value in that. So it’s OK to embrace the fact that it’s never as good as you think. But you can strive towards it as long as you think prudently and have a plan to get you to the value you need. Until next month…

Andy Jonak
ajonak@vicomnet.com