Sybase has just announced a time series extension to its Real-time Analytics Platform (RAP). Briefly, this allows you to look for time-based correlations within historic data. However, it is not time series, nice as it is, that is my focus in this article but RAP in general.
RAP consists on an in-memory database called RAPCache (which is a version of Sybase ASE, the company's OLTP database) and a back-end analytics platform called RAPStore (which is, effectively, Sybase IQ, the company's column-based data warehouse). Additionally, there is an option to add Sybase CEP (complex event processing) at the front-end and, for the purposes of this article I will assume that that is typically the case. In other words, you can take high volumes of event data, process them with low latency and, in real-time, combine that processing with the results of queries or analytics against historic data held within the RAPStore. This is a significant requirement within a number of financial trading (for example, it is popular with hedge funds) and management scenarios, as well as a number of other sectors.
Now, consider your typical CEP product. Well, that's it. There is just a CEP product. Of course there's a development environment and a front-end and all that stuff but that's it. There may be a store where you can persist the data for playback purposes but that's it. If you want to do complex analytics against historic data and combine that with your event processing in real-time then you'll have to rely on a third party. If you want to use that same platform for real-time risk management, not just within a portfolio but across the enterprise then you'll have to relay on a third party.
But you don't have to rely on a third party with RAP because it's all within a single platform.
Interestingly, when RAP was released last summer it was primarily regarded as a "toy for quants" but, funnily enough, interest in such toys has rather dropped away. On the other hand, demand for risk management has surged. This has led to Sybase way exceeding its target sales of RAP: 165% ahead of forecast last year and even more in the first quarter of this. In terms of financial services customers RAP has already overtaken a number of the longer term CEP vendors in this market and my guess is that it will eclipse all of them within a year or two unless they do something about it.
Moreover, Sybase is not going to be content to stick within financial services but also see significant potential within both telecommunications and in government. And in case you still think of Sybase as just a company that targets financial services because that's where its ASE base is, then you'd better think again: roughly half of Sybase's IQ users are outside financial services and it has huge leverage with the telecommunications sector thanks to its iAnywhere enterprise mobility and m365 mobile messaging product lines.
Mark my words: Sybase is going to be a big beast in the event processing world.