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Microservices Expo: Article

Data Is Up, Data Is Down, Data Is on the Move

Connectivity is everything

Data is going up and data is going down. Its endless upward spiral to the cloud is being lauded as the platform and paradigm that we must now adhere to for future IT efficiency. At the same time, data is going down. It is being processed and (crucially here) it is being ‘analyzed' at an in-memory level, where new speed efficiencies outstrip the power of disk-based alternative options.

Data is on the move too of course. Mobile data (and most important of all, enterprise mobile data) is tracing a fast-paced location-aware fluid and functional vortex around us as the devices now keep up the application capabilities in this space.

Nokia shipped its latest Lumia 920 handheld with a promise to users that they have just bought the "world's best business smartphone" no less. Marketing-speak aside though, the ability to use apps on this type of unit that differ (by and large) from desktop equivalents only in terms of screen size is something of a revelation.

Connectivity is everything and if a businessperson can Skype on his or her phone rather than use a laptop or desktop (which they can now), then why wouldn't they?

Devices such as Nokia's latest offering should never have been marketed as smartphones; they are half-size mini tablets that happen to have a phone in them. This is game-changing stuff and no mistaking the term ‘superphone' has already started to be used to attempt to distinguish the newer models of later 2012 and onward.

Companies like SAP and HP are trying hard to break some of the mold here. SAP is pushing enterprise level mobile applications to the fore on devices that were not initially intended to host mission-critical apps supporting firm's systems of record. We're talking about the iPad for one, plus the rest of the tablet universe as it now orbits the software application development focused arm of the galaxy.

HP doesn't want to see the high-end laptop (or low and medium-end laptop for that matter) get left out of the rush to enterprise mobility. The company's Mobile Enterprise Solution Architecture Consulting division is only a stone's throw away from its Enterprise Mobility Services detachment, which, surprise surprise is aligned toward SAP technologies. The big guys know which side their bread is buttered on and they know the fat content too.

A Splattering Splunking Mess of Data Detritus
With this up, down, left and right of data on the move through mobile channels, some of them socially fueled... and many of them being disparate, disconnected and lacking any cohesive level of integration... is not always good news.

It might sound like it represents user freedom and it probably does; but it's a nightmare waiting to happen to the system administrator (sysadmins) and/or the database administrator (DBA) who have to sit in the engine room and get covered in a splattering splunking mess of data detritus as they attempt to track and pin down data status at every level.

Enter Splunk, a piece of Unix-derived data manipulation software that has been engineered and built for the purpose of diagnosing and troubleshooting software application problems in environments/platforms ranging from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Salesforce.com's Heroku, Google's App Engine and the Rackspace cloud.

Released by the firm at the back end of last year is Splunk Storm. This monitoring tool is focused on analyzing what Splunk refers to as "critical business metrics" so that, by viewing its results, operational controls can be tuned appropriately.

Rage Against the Machine (log)
IT industry analyst Robin Bloor writes in his 10 Companies & Technologies To Watch in 2013 piece this January that Splunk has built a technology and a business by enabling swift access to machine data: the data that resides in machine logs of every kind throughout computer networks from web logs to system management logs.

"It was swiftly adopted by many IT departments mainly for the operational management capabilities it enabled. But fairly soon companies began to discover that machine-generated data was a rich source of business information. Splunk had built a fast engine and platform for analyzing such data. This has now become a formidable business intelligence engine," writes Bloor.

Splunk's senior director of product marketing Sanjay Meta claims that Splunk can be "pointed at anything" in terms of the breadth of its potential usage. This is because it doesn't work to impose a schema upon the data that it captures at the point of execution.

Moving one step further, the ability of Splunk to "create schemas on the fly"(the columns and rows that describe the interrelationships of a database table) gives the software its greatest boost for freedom and potential power.

This new multi-dimensional environment for CIOs to perform their data management across is further complicated by multi-temperature data forms; we next move to classify hold, tepid and cold data depending upon its usage in real-time analytics.

Not all of this is going to be simple by any means. Nokia's "business" smartphone does have a strong Windows Phone 8 Xbox360 connected games option too. Perhaps that distraction is there for a good reason?

•   •   •

This post first appeared on CIO Enterprise Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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