Analysis: What are IBM, SAS, Teradata and Salesforce doing with Hadoop and other big data technologies?
Real-time data has truly come into the limelight in 2015, partly due to the maturing nature of the big data market and the continued effort to get value from data.
The value of real-time data is that you no longer have to wait for information to be extracted from your data, it’s immediately available.
Gone will be the days of waiting days or weeks for those valuable insights to tell you whether or not your strategy is right, making decisions in the real-time is vital for the big data market to truly succeed.
Creating data-driven insights moves businesses away from rely on gut feeling, Teradata describes big data as: "Moving away from risky, gut-feel management styles to data-driven business and analytics-enabled models."
Data analytics is one thing, but the Holy Grail is real-time data analytics.
Hugo D’Ulisse, Head of Analytical Platform, SAS UK & Ireland, told CBR: "In traditional analysis, data is stored and then analysed. But with streaming data, analytics happens on all the relevant data in real time, enriched with any available stored data.
"This allows you to identify and examine patterns of interest as the data is in flight. The result is predictive streaming analysis, instant insight, which when combined with high-performance analytics, allows immediate action."
A number of companies are striving for real-time data insights and while a number of vendors say they offer this, there are some questions about how real-time they actually are.
Some vendors may pitch their data analytics as being ‘near real-time’ but few insights are given to how fast that actually is. The problem is that anything is better than waiting two weeks for insights, so does two days count as real-time?
AWS, IBM and SAP are just a few of the juggernauts offering real-time capabilities, AWS with Kinesis Streams, IBM’s z Systems are optimised for real-time analytics and SAP offers real-time with its HANA platform.
Salesforce is another that offers real-time data through its Wave Analytics, the common theme among these companies is the focus on business intelligence and integration with existing BI and ERP systems.
Another of the players in the field is EXASOL which has worked with King, a social games company that is famous for the likes of Candy Crush.
The company uses EXASOL for real-time analytics and was previously a pure-play Hadoop user, it moved so that it could react faster and stay ahead of customer needs.
Real-time analytics can be done at scale, King for example has more than 195 games across over 200 countries and generates over a petabyte of data a year, analytics is used to make decisions on 1.5 billion game plays per day.
Andy Done, Data Platform Lead, King Digital Entertainment, said: "Data helps us strike the right balance between challenge and fun in our games and see how, when and why people spend money in our games.
"We use this information to make small, but vitally important improvements, making them more playable, whilst helping us to retain our loyal players and attract new players."
This of course isn’t the only example of real-time data being put to good use and tech vendors are increasing their footprint in this market.
IBM for example today released a service on its cloud platform, Bluemix. IBM Alert Notification is designed to deliver critical service updates to Bluemix users about the performance of their apps.
It combines real-time and historical network analytics to form a view across networks and operations. The benefit of this is that developers and operators will receive an immediate notification when their attention is required.
It is clear that a number of large vendors are placing a focus on real-time analytics and 2016 could see a shift away from just talking about big data to real time.