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Cloud Computing: Article

PowerBuilder Developer's Journal Interview: Driving Innovation

An interview with Irfan Khan, Sybase VP & CTO

Sybase Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Irfan Khan has been with the company for over 15 years. He oversees technology evangelism efforts and is chartered with ensuring the voice of Sybase's customers and the needs of the market are reflected within the company's innovation and product development.

At a time when Sybase's revenues are stronger than at any time in the past and the company's technologies compete alongside the cream of the industry's database solutions, PowerBuilder Developer's Journal speaks directly to Sybase CTO Irfan Khan to get his wider perspectives on the industry as a whole and an insight into the future growth implications for the corporate data center.

PowerBuilder Developer's Journal: Briefly, give us an insight into your background and how you came to hold your current position at Sybase.

Irfan Khan: My career at Sybase began more than 15 years ago and during this time I've held a number of engineering positions working at code level on most of the server-based products. Back in 2000, I changed my focus to become more customer-facing and engaged in architectural activities around complex, distributed systems. It was around this time I embraced technology evangelism and quickly progressed through various management roles to head up the worldwide evangelism efforts for Sybase.

At the beginning of 2008, my product engineering contributions and hands-on experiences in real-world customer implementations helped me achieve my career goal of becoming VP & Chief Technology Officer. My principal roles are to continue leading the company's evangelism efforts, encourage the growth of a strong community through groups such as Sybase's Developer Network and ISUG and from a technology viewpoint, provide an "outside-in" perspective. By this I mean help Sybase drive innovation and respond to customer and market needs.

PBDJ: When you talk about responding to customer needs, Sybase has had a column-based offering, Sybase IQ, in the market for some time now. What's driving the "rise of the column-based database" and how would a customer benefit from a column store database for analytics?

Khan: In answer to your question let me first touch on some of the major trends in Business Intelligence that are driving the need for a speciality analytics column-based store. First, we have all been observing radical increases in data volumes and there is one surety - volumes will continue to grow exponentially. Second, there are a greater number of complex queries, users and workloads all being run in parallel. Third, analytics applications are now considered more mainstream and hence mission-critical to the businesses that run them. Finally, there is a significant decrease in the time-window between transactional systems populating "systems of record" and complex query analysis being performed across these.

Ultimately, customers are able to benefit from column-based stores since they enable real-world problems to be solved, such as being able to analyze the humongous data explosion, permit scaling for increasing user populations, and help expand the data mining and productivity capabilities of "knowledge workers." Column-based stores are architected and optimized for complex "what-if" analysis across terabytes of data; they are substantially more efficient than a conventional RDBMS in managing storage, memory, and processing resources.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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