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John Paul Cook


The information technology field is full of obfuscation. There are many three letter acronyms, including the meta three letter acronym TLA. Now in the era of Big Data and Cloud, we have four letter acronyms, what I call FLAS, two of which are HTAP and ACID. People have asked me what these are, so here is an explanation.

ACID has a new meaning. No longer is it just Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability. It can also mean Algorithms, Cloud, IoT, and Data. HTAP is Hybrid Transactional Analytic Processing. Transactional processing systems are by default not optimized for analytical processing. Transactional processing works well when data is stored in indexed rows. That type of storage does not work well for analytic processing, which involves the aggregation of columns of data. By arranging and storing data in columns, aggregations can be done much faster. A tried and true technique for providing fast analytical processing and fast transactional processing is to have ETL or ELT processes to periodically build columnar OLAP storage from row oriented OLTP storage. The disadvantage is the latency introduced.

HTAP solutions provide both OLAP and OLTP storage allowing analytical processing on current transactional data without slowing down the transactional processing.

Of course I’m writing about FLAS because my job title as of this writing is DPSA, Data Platform Solution Architect.

Published Tuesday, November 08, 2016 7:31 PM by John Paul Cook

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Thomas Rushton said:

Aren't four letter acronyms called "ETLA"s, as in Extended TLAs?

November 11, 2016 7:04 AM

Adam Machanic said:


I haven't heard that one before. Much nicer (and more fun) than FLAs, in my opinion.

(BTW, John, what's with the capital S?)


November 11, 2016 12:54 PM

John Paul Cook said:

Adam, I was thinking Four Letter Acronym with FLA being singular and FLAS being plural. ETLA is probably better than FLA or FLAS. I'm still looking for the perfect 4 letter acronym for the class of four letter acronyms.

November 27, 2016 9:02 PM

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a Data Platform Solution Architect working out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at a clinic that treats low income and uninsured patients. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Opinions expressed in John's blog are strictly his own and do not represent Microsoft in any way.

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