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Azul Systems Focuses on "Actionable" Big Data

Interview with Gil Tene, Azul's CTO & Co-Founder

Azul Systems was at the recent Red Hat Summit, and so it seemed only logical to catch up with CTO and co-founder Gil Tene (pictured below). I last interviewed him more than five years ago, which is hard for me to believe. The sands of time and all that. This is one of the original great Java companies, so heck, it was time.

Roger: Let's start with a quick review of these past years. What are the big issues facing Azul these days?

Gil: This is a good time and a good business climate for Azul. We are seeing a resurgence of both Java and other languages that use the JVM, and developers continue to value the features within a managed runtime.

The importance of responsiveness and consistent behavior -- our forte -- keep growing, and our customers are both excited by the faster pace of innovations within Java and the JVM as well as concerned by the rapid end-of-free-updates of prior versions. Java 6 faced the end of free updates, and the transition to paid-for-only support, last year, and Java 7 will be reaching a similar milestone in April of 2015.

Our customers are looking for longer-term stability, along with the certainty that critical applications won't require constant updating of the core Java platform.

Roger: Where does Cloud Computing come in? How much migration are you seeing to the cloud?

Gil: Our customers vary in their use of the Cloud. High-performance/low-latency systems are generally deployed in traditional data centers, while other customers deliver their SaaS solutions from the Cloud, supporting hundreds of thousands of end-users with demanding SLAs.

Enterprises look to the Cloud when they need large amounts of flexibility, when they are facing very rapid growth, or when demand varies throughout the day, as is the cases with some analytics applications. We expect to see continued growth in public, private and hybrid clouds for at least the next decade.

Roger: And how important is Big Data to your customers and the solutions you offer to them?

Gil: Cloudera recently announced Azul as a certified member in their partner program. Almost every enterprise has some sort of Big Data initiative and strategy, and there is great interest in getting value from Hadoop.

Our focus has been not so much on managing petabytes of unstructured data in huge disk farms. Instead, our focus has been on use cases that we refer to as "actionable Big Data." By working with Azul our customers can combine large in-memory data structures with analytics, and deliver a glitch-free, high-quality end-user experience.

Roger: How big is actionably Big?

Gil: This use case crosses many industries. Some of our customers manage hundreds of GB of in-memory data, which with our Zing JVM can be accessed and managed by a single JVM instance.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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