Operations in Real-Time

Being able to do operations and analysis in real-time with platforms like SAP Business Suite on HANA is a big deal.

But it’s far from being the first time business people have clamored for real-time systems, nor the first time the computer industry has touted the benefits. Would this text look out of place in a big-data predictive in-memory platform ad?

“…there’s only one commercially available platform capable of real time performance. It’s the ideal system for simulation. It solves complex problems from sensor data at speeds that are compatible with real-time control. Because of its ability to reduce large volumes of data at tremendous speeds, the system easily handles even the most difficult problems. Furthermore, it offers many other outstanding characteristics, including: superb operating efficiency, large capacity, great versatility, the ability to interface with a wide variety of different types of data. For more information about the system, or for information about ways in which you might apply the system to your particular problems, contact us… “

In fact, it’s a slightly-edited version of the copy from this 1956 ad for a Remington Rand Univac…

ad for old computer 1956 Univac 690px

Image source: the awesome http://www.dvq.com

My conclusion? Not that marketing is dumb, but that the fundamental business need for real information, in real-time, hasn’t changed in 60 years. The technology has taken a massive leap forward — but so has the complexity of the modern world, leaving us “back where we started” (but at a far more advanced level).

The new in-memory platforms are “ripping up the old rules” according to analyst firms like Gartner — and yet we’re getting back to the fundamentals of what we’ve always wanted.

It’s an arms race: ever since the abacus, the cycle has been the same: computing technology improves, we use it do to great new things, and we move on to the next great problem that technology can’t (yet) solve.

The Univac was part of the real-time business information revolution — and in-memory platforms like SAP HANA are too.


One response to “Operations in Real-Time”

  1. Jameel Anees Avatar
    Jameel Anees

    Very insightful article. Sometimes I feel that data visualization is the only space where we aren’t “back where we started.”