Monday June 23, 2014 0 comments
By David Wagman
LOUISVILLE -- Imagine that you've developed what has become a wildly popular online game whose players are spread across all seven continents. The back room software running this phenom tracks thousands of individual user actions as they play the game 24-7.
It also needs to access multiple social network feeds to interact with users in real time and urge them on towards gaming greatness.
Not your bag? Well, then imagine that you're a corporate executive who not only needs to tap real-time data on operations from across her company, but also needs to access external data sources that affect the business and its growth.
These sorts of real-time, interactive, and dynamic uses of data are increasingly commonplace. But it all can bog down due to the database itself, which often is the weakest link in the information technology chain.
"The database historically has been the slowest component in the system," says Cory Isaacson, CEO/CTO of Louisville-based CodeFutures Corp., which develops and supplies database performance tools to corporate and government clients.
That flaw is due in part to the fact that databases typically are developed as static repositories to hold information such as customer names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit details, as one simple example. A software application can be written to, say, query the database to locate customers by a specific zip code.
Simple enough. But modify the query to include layers of more complex, fast-changing data and the processing time to respond to a query can stretch out to hours and even days.
With the rise of Big Data and devices such as remote sensors, mobile devices, and so on adding information every second, databases can become slower still, Isaacson says, to the point that a query can fail to deliver an answer fast enough for a competitive organization.
To attack the database bottleneck, CodeFutures in early June released a database management product called AgilData. The company made the announcement at Cloud Expo in New York City.
"The era of Big Data is upon us and will continue to accelerate rapidly, bringing a host of new challenges for organizations looking to gain a competitive advantage by extracting meaning and value from data in a fast and efficient manner," Isaacson said as part of the product release. The AgilData innovation represents what he called a "fundamental shift" from current approaches that view databases as a static repository.
It works this way: AgilData provides high-performance stream processing, real-time dynamic views, real-time aggregation, and support for structured query language (SQL), which is programming language used to manage data. AgilData uses open source streaming tools for process flows, in conjunction with its data engine, dubbed AgilEngine.
The data structures offered through AgileEngine are enabled through MapDB, a new open-source Java database tool that is supported by CodeFutures. The company says that together, these technology innovations provide support for advanced features, such as automatic redundancy, transactions and persistent query-able streams.
CodeFutures employs 10 people, including Isaacson and Andy Grove, VP of engineering and chief architect, who leads the company's development team. The company also maintains a London office, and is capitalized through a strategic investor, whom Isaacson declined to name.
Isaacson, a California native, moved to Colorado 10 years ago. He was president of Rogue Wave Software and engineered its acquisition in mid-2007 by a private equity firm. The CodeFutures website describes him as an "active evangelist" on the need to use concurrent processing and scalable database techniques to improve application performance on multi-core architectures.
In June, the company was named a Top-100 company in data management and analysis by Database Trends and Applications magazine. Its editors cited CodeFutures' newly-launched platform, which they said "represents a major industry breakthrough that aligns data processing and usage with the Agile-based principles of being lightweight, flexible, incrementally scalable and extremely responsive to the needs of customers and the organization."
Big Data generally refers to any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data-processing applications. The size and complexity introduce multiple challenges that include capture, storage, search, sharing, transfer, analysis and visualization.
CodeFutures says that Big Data sources include search engines, social networks, mobile devices, system data and the Internet of Things. It says virtually every aspect of our lives will be impacted by data as ever-more capable devices and smart components are introduced to society.
"These components generate data - lots of it - often in ways we never imagined feasible just a few years ago," the company says.
Isaacson says having Colorado as a home base offers a "huge advantage." He says the Boulder region offers more high-tech workers per capita than almost any other part of the country. And those workers like it here, the California native notes.
"They want to grow professionally and stay in Colorado."