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The world of Hybrid Transaction/Analytical Processing

Gartner’s new acronym, HTAP. What does it mean and why should you care?

What if we lived in a world where business users didn’t have to think about using different systems, depending on whether they wanted to use current or historical data? Where staff didn’t have to distinguish between running and managing the business? Where IT didn’t have to design and manage complex processes to copy and cleanse all data from operational systems to data warehouses and marts for business intelligence (BI)? The reality of today’s accelerating business drivers is that we urgently need to enable those new world behaviors of both business and IT.

My 2013 book, “Business unIntelligence”, described how the merging of business and technology is transforming and reinventing business processes. Such dramatic changes demand that current and historical data are combined in a more integrated, closed-loop way. In many industries, the success—and even survival—of companies will depend on their ability to bridge the current divide between their operational and informational systems. In 2014, Gartner (1) coined the term hybrid transaction/analytical processing (HTAP) to describe the same need. In terms of its implementation, they pointed to the central role of in-memory databases. This technology is certainly at the core, but other hardware and software considerations come into play.

My recent white paper “The Emergent Operational/Informational World” explores this topic in depth. Starting from the original divergence of operational and informational systems in the 1970s and 1980s, the paper explains how we arrived in today’s layered data world and why it must change, citing examples from online retailing, financial services and the emerging Internet of Things. It describes the three key technological drivers enabling the re-convergence, (1) In-memory databases, (2) techniques to reduce contention in data access, and (3) scaling out of relational databases, and how the modern NuoDB relational database product addresses these drivers.

For a brief introduction to the topic, join me and Steve Cellini of NuoDB on December 2nd, 1pm EST for our webinar “The Future of Data: Where Does HTAP Fit?
(1) Gartner Press Release, “Hybrid Transaction/Analytical Processing Will Foster Opportunities for Dramatic Business Innovation”, G00259033, 28 January 2014

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