The Rush to Real Time: Industry Leader Q&A with Hazelcast’s Kelly Herrell

Hazelcast provides a broadcast and memory-first application platform for state- and data-intensive workloads on-premises, at the edge, or as a fully managed cloud service. The company recently announced version 5.0 of the Hazelcast platform in which the Hazelcast IMDG and Hazelcast Jet products have been combined into one product to not only simplify application development with Hazelcast but also to focus more on developing real-time applications that will engage with end users in new ways. Recently, Hazelcast CEO Kelly Herrell shared more information about the new release as well as the company’s future roadmap.

Earlier this year, Hazelcast announced Hazelcast Platform 5.0. What is the significance of the name change and how does it relate to IMDG and Jet products?

Companies no longer want to act on what happened yesterday; They want to act according to what is happening now. This requires a new and tightly integrated set of technologies. Gartner captured this in a recent report that talks about the “collision” of several technologies, including live streaming and in-memory computing. Their report is directly aligned with what we see from our customers, and as a result, we believe we are among the first, if not the first, to incorporate these technologies to help our customers deliver real-time applications.

At the product level, the term “stronger than the sum of its parts” applies here. The Hazelcast platform integrates what were once two separate products: Hazelcast IMDG, an enterprise-class in-memory data store that accelerates data storage, retrieval, and modification, and Hazelcast Jet, a high-performance, low-latency distributed data flow processing engine. This powerful combination gives organizations a single, streamlined platform for transactional, operational, and analytics workloads.

What does this mean for users of previous products?

From the upgrade path, all existing customers can upgrade to the new platform to take advantage of in-memory data storage and broadcast processing capabilities. They will be able to add new capabilities to their existing applications at no additional cost.

When it comes to the upgrade path itself, we’ve focused on maintaining compatibility with existing users. For example, Hazelcast Platform 5.0 is fully compatible with Hazelcast IMDG 4.x. We also offer a non-stop upgrade path for Hazelcast IMDG 3.x users, although some changes to the app code are required. For existing Jet users, the upgrade will require pausing and resuming tasks, as was the case when upgrading between versions of Jet.

Can you highlight three of the most important new features and how do you best deal with changing customer requirements?

The biggest advantage is really the focus of the entire platform: enabling real, real-time applications. To do this, we make it easier and faster for organizations to process streaming data as it is being created and combine it with historical context — data stored in databases or elsewhere — to deliver real-time applications that can capture value beyond their reach. This provides new, timely and truly meaningful opportunities for customers to interact with applications. This is a huge competitive advantage.

But three other important new features include expanded SQL support with many new expressions, a new static storage functionality that adds critical flexibility, and increased storage capacity. When it comes to the latter, the Hazelcast Platform supports 200 GB per member, effectively doubling the maximum storage capacity on the same device. This increased density, combined with linear scaling of member counts, helps companies meet explosive storage requirements while maintaining extremely high performance.

What obstacle do you see between organizations trying to get more of their data?

One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is integrating real-time streaming data and passive data. In fact, a recent global survey of IT decision makers showed that nearly four out of five professionals have difficulty dealing with this problem at some level. Organizations have faced a massive challenge in acquiring big data; Now they realize that the volumes of data they store can be combined with the massive amounts of data flowing from servers, mobile systems, and IoT devices? You name it. The value in that data is the highest at the moment it is born; The challenge – and the big one – is to harness that data in real time and combine it with the data in different systems.

What do they need to change in terms of technology or processes?

It’s not about changing technologies, it’s more about processes and mindsets. The technology landscape for data solutions is becoming increasingly complex and fragmented, and companies are plunging into decentralized data. As a result, internal teams are becoming more isolated because you need experts in different fields. This complexity is the enemy of rapid innovation in a highly competitive world.

Hazelcast rises above this complexity by providing a single execution environment that connects to all data sources, resolving the conflict described in the Gartner report. The massive processing speed gives developers a simple, unified way to create innovative applications in real time and focus on customer experience and results.

What do you expect companies to be able to achieve if they can improve these areas?

By building real-time businesses, our clients gain accelerated revenue growth, reduced risk, and increased cost efficiency. For example, BNP Paribas created an app that allows personalized loan offers to be made in real time – in exchange for sending an offer days after it’s needed – that has grown its product line business by 400%. We’ve seen similar effects for other clients in the areas of fraud detection, recommendation and alert drivers, supply chain and production management.

What’s next on the Hazelcast roadmap?

Hazelcast offers an open, integrated platform with all the critical capabilities required to build a real-time solution for your business. At a high level, our roadmap includes providing our customers with the best product experience to build real-time solutions; democratize flow analytics by optimizing pre-integrations with commonly used messaging systems and data sources; And make SQL a common language for accessing and analyzing all data – data at rest and data on the move.

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