How Hazelcast hopes to make digital transformation mainstream

Commentary: Even as the coronavirus pandemic has hastened digital transformation efforts, success remains elusive for many companies. This one-stop shop to digital transformation might help.

Digital transformation

Image: metamorworks, Getty Images/iStockphoto

It's no secret that, as CircleCI CEO Jim Rose put it, "The pandemic has compressed the time[line]" for digital transformation. What is perhaps surprising is just how broad and deep that transformation is spreading. In an interview with Hazelcast chief product officer David Brimley, he stressed that while Fortune 500 e-commerce and finance companies have historically paid the bills for Hazelcast, provider of an open source in-memory data grid (IMDG), mid-sized enterprises "are coming to us and saying, we want to start digitizing and [adding digital] channels for our business."

How they get there, and how fast, is the question. 

SEE: Digital transformation road map (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

A one-stop shop to digital transformation 

As keen as companies are to move workloads to the cloud to facilitate digital transformation, not all companies are alike in their readiness, Brimley said. In particular, these mid-sized enterprises may lack the personnel or other resources to push aggressively into the cloud, whatever their intentions. As such, he said, many companies are trying to figure out "the quickest way I can get the applications and hardware I've got today in my own data centers and add a digital channel on the top of it as quickly as I can." 

No PhD in Computer Geekery required.

SEE: Special report: Prepare for serverless computing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

By pairing Hazelcast IMDG for distributed coordination and in-memory data storage with Hazelcast Jet for building streaming data pipelines, Brimley said, organizations can build digital integration hubs without having the technical chops of a Netflix or Facebook. "There are a lot of companies that can't make head nor tail of this plethora of Cloud Native Computing Foundation products [Kubernetes, Envy, Fluentd, etc.], and they just want to stand up a Java process, have it clustered together, have some way of running their 'microservices' on this Java cluster, and off they go."

Once, a company (and open source project) like Hazelcast would have had to pitch themselves to banks and credit card companies for low-latency, high-performance distributed systems; these were the types of organizations that valued IMDGs. Today, however, such concerns span a much broader range of companies, particularly with this crushing need to achieve digital transformation.  

For Brimley and Hazelcast, they're not pitching themselves as a database or any particular technology. Even the IMDG label might not fit particularly well. After all, the company isn't positioning itself as about technology, per se, but rather about solving business problems; about how developers can use Hazelcast to capture "interesting new architectural patterns," in Brimley's words. It's taking on the "I need to embrace an event-driven architecture crowd," and not selling a data cache or, yes, not even an in-memory data grid.

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but these are my views and don't reflect those of my employer.

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