Batch Processing Demystified

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What is batch processing?

Batch processing, or batch jobs, refers to a computer’s ability to process multiple sets of data at once without any human interaction. The word batch refers to performing multiple actions at once as opposed to one action at a time. In some ways, it is a program that reads and generates a report from a massive dataset and allows organizations to automate repetitive tasks. It frees up the time of an organization for more important matters.

Batch processing boosts the productivity of an organization and helps efficiently and quickly manage large amounts of data. It prioritizes processing and completing data jobs, whenever it is necessary. The jobs are scheduled by software and run according to those parameters. Batch jobs don’t require user intervention. This is different from real-time processing, which requires constant attention from a user. 

In other words, it allows users to perform tasks on groups of files that are similar rather than just one file at a time. 

Examples of batch processing

One example of a batch job can be the electricity bill generated at the end of the month. The generation of electricity bills is a batch process that happens once per month. Electricity providers do not generate bills every day, but rather process the electricity usage for the entire month and generate the invoice.

In banks, batch processing is used to process transactions. Banks are one of the industries where batch processing is most used. Each time a transaction happens, it gets processed in batches instead of individually. This helps to save a lot of time and resources.

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Evolution of batch processing

Herman Hollerith, an American inventor, pioneered the batch processing method in the nineteenth century. Hollerith developed a tabulating machine to process data for the 1890 U.S. Census. In that era, it was common for computers to have only one processor, and they were shared among many users. 

It allowed multiple users to share computer resources while still maintaining control over their jobs. It also ensured that all of the jobs would be processed on time. This led to more efficient use of computing resources. 

Today, most large organizations use batch processing because it allows them to optimize their computing power and schedule workloads according to business needs.

Benefits of batch processing

Many businesses use batch processing in their daily operations. Batch processing has numerous benefits including:

Increased speed and efficiency of data processing: By processing a large amount of data at once, it is possible to complete these tasks more quickly than if they were done individually. 

Data integrity is maintained by running jobs in an order which prevents errors caused by later jobs on incomplete data. 

Improved data quality: A well-designed batch system should provide checks and balances against bad data entering your database. 

Minimized error: Data can be processed without human intervention so that errors are not introduced through human input mistakes or lapses in concentration or attention. 

Cost-effective: In many cases, batch processing is less expensive than real-time processing because of economies of scale.

Reliability and accuracy: Because each job is executed independently from other jobs, any errors made during one run will not affect subsequent runs. 

Easy to maintain/update: A batch system will only need periodic maintenance rather than constant monitoring.

Batch Processing vs Stream Processing

Batch processing is the traditional way of data processing. It is a method that is used when there are many datasets and they need to be processed in batches. Stream Processing, on the other hand, is a newer approach to data processing. It involves continuous data flows and can process the data instantly. Stream processing works best in situations where real-time responses are necessary. This approach enables real-time analytics and insights. Both data processes have their advantages and disadvantages. 

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to determining which method is best for your company. The choice of which one to use depends on the specific use case. For example, if an organization’s operations demand to analyze an incoming stream of information as it happens then stream processing would be ideal. However, if it wants to perform batch operations on a dataset then batch processing would be more suitable. 

Many businesses employ both methods- batch and stream processing, depending on what task needs to be performed. To conclude, although both methods of data processing serve different purposes, they are not mutually exclusive. Organizations can leverage them together to achieve the desired results.

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Cloud and future of batch processing

Cloud computing and on-demand services have made batch processing easier to implement than ever before. Cloud monitoring tools can execute complex batch jobs without managing systems. The increased connectivity of cloud computing has also helped make batch processing more efficient by allowing for tighter integration with existing business applications. 

With today’s technology and specialized tools, there’s almost no limit to what organizations can automate in their business. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to become more efficient by automating processes that were once manual.

Technology is always evolving, and many new processes will emerge in the next few years, but batch processing will continue to exist for the foreseeable future.

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Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries