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The majority of existing datacenter infrastructure and in particular, storage systems (whether software-driven, or legacy multi controller based) are geared towards running one of two types of applications – online transactional processing (OLTP) or online analytical processing (OLAP).
However, the proliferation of public cloud; Infrastructure-, Platform-, and Software-as-a-Service (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS); the Internet of Things (IoT); and Big Data are changing what we think of as an application. In essence, the next generational application (or simply, next-gen app) will combine OLTP and OLAP into a single function.
Consider applications such as:
- Fraud detection;
- Credit risk;
- Genome sequencing; and
Each of these applications not only as a real-time transactional (think: OLTP) component, but it also requires comparison to some form of aggregate analysis (think: OLAP). Many of these next-gen apps are likely to have a core-to-edge architecture, where the transaction is handled at the edge (for example, credit card processing at a merchant), but will ultimately aggregate data at the core to detect anomalies and match patterns.
But unlike traditional applications that perform these tasks asynchronously, next-gen apps will perform this simultaneously.
The impact of next-gen apps on infrastructure is significant – especially performance. In order to enable these applications to operate at the real-time nature of business requires minimal latency, broad bandwidth, and high I/O. Traditional applications separate high I/O and low latency for OLTP applications, and broad bandwidth for OLAP.
The performance impact is amplified by magnitudes when considering the IoT whereupon the number of real-time transactions could number in the billions on trillions. An example of this would be the real time tracking of cell phone locations to be used to calculate traffic conditions. As a group of cell phones travel from one tower to another freely, traffic conditions can be assumed to be good. On the other hand, if that same group of cell phones come to a halt on a freeway, then there is likely traffic or an accident. Multiply this by the number of cell phones in use at any given time, and the traffic monitoring that takes place constantly; augmented by the back end analytics of comparing the current traffic conditions with historic traffic conditions, and the result is a massive amount of data that needs to be hosted, processed, and moved constantly.
This ultimately puts tremendous pressures on core infrastructure. That is why an understanding of the next-gen app is so crucial. Infrastructure vendors need to consider this as new run-time environments such as containers gain popularity and acceptance, and whereupon these environments could run on mobile devices and other edge devices.