SQLstream: Access streaming operational data using ANSI SQL

Organizations that deploy Big Data tools to analyze operational data soon learn staff's expertise in SQL isn't always helpful. New skills need to be learned.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Damian Black, SQLstream CEO, stopped by to introduce his company, discuss a few industry trends, and introduce the company's s-Server 3.0. Here's a summary of our interesting conversation:

Who is SQLstream?

SQLstream has been working to help its customers manage and use real-time streams of operational data using familiar ANSI SQL rather than forcing them to learn new techniques and tools. They've also worked to make their technology enhance the use of other Big Data tools, such as Apache Hadoop.

Industry trends

Our discussion examined the industry in the following way:

  •  Business operations rely on real-time continuous business transactional applications. These help organizations with the day-to-day functions needed to keep the business going. Insight into unexpected market conditions, changing customer requirements and detecting anomalies typically aren't part of business transaction processing applications.
  •  Business intelligence tools are used to do an after-the-fact analysis of what has happened and help organizations get answers to questions they already have about what's happening. While these applications are very important, they are designed to only answer questions that are already known. They may or may not be helpful in understanding rapidly changing market or business requirements.
  •  The market is seeing the emergence of operational intelligence applications that gather, analyze and report on operational and business data as it is being created. Often these tools are categorized as "predictive analytics." They are designed to learn about how the organization's workloads are operating and to be able to detect changes or anomalies found in that stream of data. While the tools in this area are very powerful, they often are built using a different type of architecture than used for business transaction processing or business intelligence applications. This creates challenges for organizations that do not have expertise in highly distributed, multi-system data storage, retrieval tools, data reduction tools and pattern matching tools.

What does SQLstream s-Server do?

SQLstream describes s-Server in the following way:

SQLstream s-Server 3.0 is a massively scalable, real-time Big Data management platform. Data feeds can be anywhere and in any format, including log files, sensors, networks, social media and web feeds. Real-time alerts, aggregated information and in-memory operational intelligence can be visualized immediately while streaming the information directly to external systems, applications and databases. Ultimately, you gain immediate insight into your data, enabling you to respond while it matters.

Version 3 adds increased performance, offers plug-ins allowing access to a large number of applications and tools, and makes it possible to analyze data as it arrives as if it were stored in a traditional relational database.

Snapshot analysis

Organizations find it difficult to keep up with the rapidly generated data coming from their operational systems. This can include log files generated by operating systems, application frameworks, data management tools, storage systems and networks. It can also include data generated by industrial or security sensors, wireless devices, GPS data or data coming from the organization's business transactions. While tools such as Hadoop, NO-SQL and others can be useful, a fast implementation of a SQL-based database would make life easier for IT developers and analysts who are already familiar with ANSI standard SQL as a mechanism for data access and analysis.

I like the fact that this tool makes Big Data analytics available to organizations without forcing them to relearn everything and take up a different approach to data management and analysis.

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