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Beware of The Blob

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
June 22, 2012

The Blob has been with us a long time. It emerged a long time ago, from the bowels of a developers mind to ease performance in a distributed environment and I/O throughput. But slowly, it has grown, taken over our data, engulfed our hard drives, and locked us into proprietary Blob formats.


Amazingly, customers still willfully adopt BPM and Case Management solutions that liberally use Blob data storage. And when they realize their data is inaccessible, unsearchable, andun-reportable, they are forced to purchase proprietary extractors just so they can report on the data they already own.

It is madness. Is this the proper architecture of a modern and intelligent BPMS or a Dynamic/Adaptive Case Management platform?

The 1958 movie "The Blob" cast Steve McQueen for just$2,500(about $20,000 in today's dollars)as the hero who defeated the Blob. I have a feeling that was a deal compared to the cost customers of poorlydesignedBPM platforms will pay for proprietary data extractors to release their data from blob architectures.

Much like "The Blob" from the movie, blob data has no brain, no intelligence, and is unstoppable in it's growth. At Appian, we saw these inherent issues with blob data architectures and chose an in-memory data architecture that enables reporting across any element in a process or case while still enabling fast response times and massive scale toaccommodatethe entire enterprise. In-memory systems like this are now the norm for customers seeking truly intelligent and responsive enterprise systems. In Appian, there is no locked up data, no lack of intelligence, and nothing more to buy. Intelligence must be a native part of any smart BPM system, and blob data formats just aren't smart to build or buy.

If you would like to learn more about Appian's powerful, blob-less, in-memory data architecture, check out our website, sign-up for a free trial, or join us in the Appian Forum.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product

Malcolm Ross