There is one word that is used more than any other when a software vendor releases a new product. It is a word that raises suspicion in many savvy software professionals because often a new feature, be it the smallest and most mundane incremental additional capability, is tagged with this word.

That word is “Revolutionary.

So, when MicroStrategy introduced a new product — MicroStrategy PRIME, a big data performance solution — at our user conference in Las Vegas this January and called it revolutionary, a lot of you rolled your eyes. Yet another launch laden with marketing lingo, you probably thought to yourself. It is just a minor improvement to their existing capabilities, you likely muttered.

But consider this. When the head of Enterprise BI at Facebook — the company that set the benchmark in big data (multiple petabytes and growing fast) and has considered every available technology to solve its big data problems says, “This is one of the most amazing things I have seen..,” you know that this is not your run-of-the-mill technology.

So what is MicroStrategy PRIME’s secret sauce? It is a combination of three things:

  • In-Memory Data. In-memory is fast. It is orders of magnitude faster than hard drives. It is so much faster, that it is like comparing a sloth to a jet fighter.
  • Massively Parallel Processing (on commodity hardware). Every problem in MicroStrategy PRIME is broken down into thousands of smaller problems and solved in parallel. In this way, massive problems can be solved thousands of times faster than the norm. And cheaply, too. No expensive appliances are involved because MicroStrategy PRIME runs on commodity hardware.

I will readily admit that 1 & 2 are not new. There are a lot of technologies out there at combine 1 &2. It is when you add #3 that the magic happens.

  • Look Ahead Analytics: Coupled Data and App Engine. Every other attempt to solving the big data performance challenge has focused on the data. That’s half the problem. Modern applications built on big data are complex beasts with hundreds of reports and analytics embedded in them. These are connected to the data through a weak coupling. And you are only as fast as the weakest link in the chain.

With MicroStrategy PRIME, we tightly coupled the visualization and app layer with the data layer. So the data optimizes itself for the app and the app for the data. The result is spectacular.

That is what makes MicroStrategy PRIME a rare beast in technology today. And that is truly revolutionary.