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Information Management Platforms: The Next Generation – Cloud Plays a Part

Describing today’s enterprise IT environment as “complex” would be a gross understatement all things considered

Describing today's enterprise IT environment as "complex" would be a gross understatement all things considered. The intricate model needed to support day-to-day business operations boggles the mind, with much of the complexity attributed to evolving applications, and the way people use data.

Today, managing geographically-distributed data is considered the norm and is no longer treated as an exception. The volumes of data needed have increased as well, often having to come from other systems and in real-time. Data access is increasingly event-based for reasons of efficiency and speed in decision-making. Streaming data in particular is much more prominent today than ever before and requires new, integrated approaches to infrastructure planning and management. The nature of analytics has also changed, and is no longer relegated to simply a reporting function, but often relied upon for real-time decision-making.

In reality, all of that application and infrastructure complexity boils down to one single challenge, in many ways the most important one facing IT today: how to ensure that your organization's underlying data assets are collectively managed and converted into information and insight in order to drive a measurable return for your business.

With that goal in mind, it's no wonder then that cloud and grid computing have come to be viewed as potential solutions, as I've written about before. Both facilitate the delivery of data faster while using an infrastructure that meets the demands of a high-volume, low-latency, global business environment - essentially, we're talking about next-generation information platforms.

I use the term "next-generation information platforms" because regardless of the technologies being used, they all look quite different from legacy infrastructures of years' past, and are incredibly effective at quickly driving value out of data. A next-generation information platform has support for analytics within the cloud, and support for data grids. Those enable elastic resourcing models and analysis of "Big Data", active analytics for streaming data, mobile analytics, or deep analytics for long-term business trends. At the heart of the matter, it's about transforming the platform experience from one where data resides at the storage tier and computation at the application tier, to one where data moves closer to the application and the user, while computations happen in the cloud so that transactions and analytics can take place more quickly and efficiently.

It is this fundamental shift of data and computation that results in shorter time to decision and more value for the business.

On Monday, November 2, I'll be discussing the notion of Next-Generation Information Platforms in more detail at the 2009 Cloud Computing Conference and Expo in Santa Clara. If you'd like to hear more about this and what Sybase is doing in cloud computing, I welcome the opportunity to meet you.

More Stories By Irfan Khan

Irfan Khan is CTO of Sybase. He oversees all the technology offices in each of Sybase's business units. Together with architects residing within the technology offices, Khan ensures the customers' voice and needs of the market are reflected within the company's innovation and product development. In addition, he oversees Sybase technology evangelism efforts.

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