Big Data

Pros and Cons: In-Memory Computing

Pros and Cons: In-Memory Computing

What is In-Memory Computing?

In-Memory Computing is an exciting new technology paradigm that can be potentially transformative across industries, and while there’s no truth to the perceptions that In-Memory is simply too expensive or that it can only provide incremental benefits, the reality is that the technology as it stands, along with the marketplace, is still somewhat fragmented.

There are six different technology classes for In-Memory computing, each with its own specific use case, but practitioners will want to be able to plug into their existing IT environment and have the standards be supported by their industry.

IMC becomes most relevant in terms of speed, scale and insight. The ability to move very quickly will be very critical in certain industries, but being able to serve large amounts of customers at once or to be able to analyze large amounts of data easily will also be benefits of In-Memory computing.

Pros of In-Memory Computing

1. Competitive Advantage

“If your competitor is able to re-plan its supply chain in a matter of seconds and it takes you hours, then you have a problem from a competitive standpoint,” Massimo Pezzini said. “If your competitors are able to dynamically change the pricing of their products in a real time fashion and instead you are only able to change your prices once per day, then you have a competitive problem,” he added.

The truth with “In-Memory Computing is if this is the way of the future, you can’t wait. IMC is designed to solve problems related to speed, scale, and insight. It’s critical for financial companies where the difference between making or losing millions can be a matter of seconds. It’s absolutely necessary for e-Commerce groups in needs of scaling to serve millions at once. And it’s a Godsend for running intelligence reports that would’ve taken hours or days to process before.

2. Transformative Capability

A bank in Sweden called Avanza Bank completely re-built their core banking and trading architecture on top of an In-Memory Computing platform. “They’re able to release new products and services to their customers in a matter of literally a few days. They release a new version of their application every eight working days, Pezzini explained. “Now they can run an incredible amount of transactions per second that would be impossible to run using their previous architecture.”

Avanza Bank’s ability to solve scalability problems and introduce greater product innovation didn’t exist with their previous architecture; the transformative capabilities are real, and because IMC is a young technology, the potential can only go up.

3. In-expensive

Pezzini says that IMC “does not necessarily need to cost a fortune.” The cost of DRAM has dropped three percent every 18 months over the last few years, and in that time it has achieved a level of maturity in which companies have identified killer applications in the form of supply chain management or planning, business intelligence, E-Commerce and more.

Prices will continue to drop as more innovation in this space takes hold and as more vendors enter into the fray, many of them larger organizations with more marketing dollars to throw around to educate companies on the benefits of IMC.

Cons of In-Memory Computing

1. Not Plug and Play

In-Memory may not immediately produce the results, if any results, you desire simply by swapping out technologies and architecture. It requires skills and expertise to manage what’s going on, and it’s not something that can be done as cheaply as many organizations first expect.

“The rhetoric suggests that you just replace your traditional database with the In-Memory Computing Technology, and all of sudden automatically the application will run 1000 times faster; that’s not really the case,” Pezzini said. “If you don’t have enough skills, if you don’t have the experience and the expertise and if you cannot find anybody helping you, the benefits are simply not going to happen.”

2. Lack of Standards

While IMC is far from immature, a lack of standards has kept it far away from complete adoption. Pezzini says customers are finding it difficult to determine which technology they need and which they can do without, namely because there is overlap and because the current standards only address small portions of the overall IMC architecture.

It’s also proving an impediment to software vendors trying to help organizations migrate pre-existing applications to an IMC standard. He believes in the next three to five years the industry will see radical changes still to the hardware supporting IMC technology, which will further help reduce cost and improve manageability.

3. Vendor challenges

Vendors thus far have been unable to help their clients fully translate the theoretical benefits of In Memory into concrete business benefits on a project-by-project, vertical-by-vertical or process-by-process basis. The reason being, it’s difficult to understand what the best technological fix might be for a specific problem, be it a data grid, database or a complex processing technology. Many organizations are now required to build custom solutions on top of In-Memory, and it will be sometime before IMC is integrated into other horizontal types of solutions.

The difference now is that major companies like SAP, HP, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle are all fully committed to IMC and educating the market. It will lead to a convergence of disparate types of IMC technology and a reduction in technology fragmentation and disjointed standards as a result.

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CIO Talk Network

CIO Talk Network, Editor, CIO Talk Network

CIO Talk Network is a trusted resource for Business and IT Leaders offering targeted, real-life, in-depth, unbiased, and thought-provoking content and conversations on topics critical to their success. CTN features thought leadership direct... More   View all posts
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