ServiceNow Expands Database, Open-Source Expertise with Swarm64 Buy

ServiceNow is buying Swarm64 to bolster the capabilities of its Now Platform to manage larger and more complex data workloads and extend its reach deeper into the open-source community.

Company officials, who this week announced plans to acquire the German company and integrate it into its enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, noted the increasing adoption of hybrid cloud environments and the exponential growth of data being generated and managed as drivers behind the purchase, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

Swarm64 was founded in 2013 to accelerate the performance of the open-source PostgresSQL databases by combining analytics and transactional database capabilities in a single offering. This helps drive database performance and scalability for enterprises that need to quickly pull useful business information from the massive amounts of data that they’re generating.

By bringing Swarm64’s technology into ServiceNow’s Now Platform, organizations will be able to query more data sources faster, according to Joe Davis, senior vice president for platform engineering at ServiceNow.

“What we’re seeing in the new hybrid model is that digital transformation is super-important and we’re seeing an ever-growing demand for more and more data volumes, more and more data processing, more and more data transactions,” Davis told Enterprise Storage Forum. “People are wanting to build these digital experiences where they’re not only processing data, but they’re asking questions in real time against that operational data. What we’re saying is you can [have a] really personalized experience with highly relevant data if you have a system that can solve these kinds of raw transactional processing capabilities, along with these hybrid analytics processing capabilities on one system in real time.”

Also read: 5 Storage Needs of Modern Data Centers

Larger, More Complex Workflows

In a blog post, Davis wrote that the company over the past two years has doubled the features and functionalities in the Now Platform to manage the larger and more complex workflows to address the rapidly changing IT environment. ServiceNow in March rolled out the “Quebec” release of the platform, which included new features such as expanded native artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities and more low-code development tools, both of which help improve performance and accelerate innovation.

Swarm64 brings with it such products as Swarm64 DA, which the company says delivers a 20-fold improvement in PostreSQL query performance via a query engine that includes greater parallel processing capabilities and compressed columnstore indexing. By bringing Swarm64 into the fold, ServiceNow will be able to address particular workloads and improve the performance and scalability of its platform.

“You have really, really large data volumes, highly complex queries [and] high levels of concurrency, so lots of users are asking the system lots of questions, sending lots of data and doing complex queries against really large data sets,” Davis said. “This technology is designed for that use case. As we see those use cases in the future, we want to make sure we’re ready to handle those in a really robust fashion.”

ServiceNow continues to make inroads in a range of new markets, including financial services, telecommunications, banking and customer services. Company officials in January announced their Vaccine Administration Management solution aimed at giving healthcare professionals better visibility into the inventory of COVID-19 vaccines and improve the management and scheduling of vaccinations. Davis said that there are countries that currently are running their entire vaccine appointment and scheduling systems on top of ServiceNow.

A Single Database for Operational, Analytical Data

A key to the Swarm64 technology is giving enterprises a single database for both operational and analytical data processes. In a traditional database model, organizations would have separate databases for those data processes. Asking complex questions of operational data was slow and not always safe, Davis said.

Now enterprises are saying that it would “be easier and better if you can answer more relevant questions faster with more accuracy, if one system could store that data, process the data and be able to answer those really complex analytic questions without having to do an ETO [efforts to outcome] and take it to another system and have the data be stale and have no context,” he said. “It’s really about combining those two key parts of the database, OLTP [online transactional processing] and OLAP [online analytical processing], into one system and unify those. It makes it so much more powerful for customers to get that data in the system of record and ask super-compelling questions in real time and have accurate, real-time information in milliseconds.”

Also read: The Vital Role of Data Storage in Digital Transformation

ServiceNow and Open Source

The Swarm64 acquisition also is the latest example of ServiceNow’s growing investments in the open-source community, Davis said. Swarm64’s technology is an extension of the PostgreSQL object-relational database and gives ServiceNow an entrance into the PostgreSQL community. ServiceNow was founded on a collection of open-source technologies, such as MySQL, Java, JavaScript and HTML and the company in recent years has increased its investment in such technologies.

It’s really taken off,” Davis said. “If you look at the open-source ecosystem, one of the things you’ll see is that software is getting better and better by the day. … It really benefits ServiceNow and our customer base to invest in it. It also benefits other companies, too, that may or may not be our customers, but when we join together, that level of innovation that we can apply to our customers just increases.”

The company in May bought Lightstep, an application monitoring and observability solutions provider whose technology will help DevOps engineers build, run and monitor advanced cloud-native applications. Lightstep helped create the OpenTracing and OpenTelemetry open-source projects, both of which are part of the Cloud Native Computing Project.

PostgreSQL Improves Database Performance

PostgreSQL has a wide range of functions that enables enterprises to manage large databases and lets programmers build an array of new applications. It can work on such operating systems as most Linux and Unix distributions as well as Windows and Mac OS X. Davis said the plan is to integrate Swarm64’s technology into the core of the Now Platform.

We don’t have to take anything out to add this,” he said. “The way that we have these data technologies is it’s there and it’s available for our application developer in ServiceNow. For our customers, if you built an application, you don’t have to change anything. [The platform is] all API-driven and the way we layer these database technologies just below those APIs, we can change data technologies and our applications don’t have to change. We recognize in our cloud customers that they are of a particular size and a particular use case, particular workloads. We automatically behind the scenes will enable this database, this data technology for you. You don’t have to change anything. Users don’t have to do anything differently and things just get faster.”

Read next: Top Big Data Tools & Software 2021

Jeff Burt
Jeffrey Burt has been a journalist for more than three decades, the last 20-plus years covering technology. During more than 16 years with eWEEK, he covered everything from data center infrastructure and collaboration technology to AI, cloud, quantum computing and cybersecurity. A freelance journalist since 2017, his articles have appeared on such sites as eWEEK, The Next Platform, ITPro Today, Channel Futures, Channelnomics, SecurityNow, Data Breach Today, InternetNews and eSecurity Planet.

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