Despite the amount of discussion surrounding Big Data, the concept is still in its infancy, which creates confusion for organizations and system designers alike. At UNICOM Engineering, we understand that as businesses start to delve into Big Data, its analysis, and potential applications, they may have no imminent solutions to deal with the concept, let alone the data itself. To help make sense of the topic, we would like to summarize a Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan report issued in May 2013 entitled, “The World Moves Fast, and Data is Driving – Part 1: Spotlight on Big Data, Analytics, and Business Intelligence.” This report takes a deep dive into the concepts, analysis, and market trends of Big Data.
Stratecast begins by defining Big Data as not only the amount of data stored by an organization—around 100 TB stored throughout an enterprise’s physical and virtual storage networks—but also the variety and diversity of the different file types, processes, storage systems, and computing environments that come into play. In fact, the term Big Data is relative; what’s big to one business may not seem big to another. Big Data is about the complexity of the data. It presents a number of new difficulties not previously seen by organizations, including the fact that current relational databases cannot handle some of the data types.
One of the key points contained in the Stratecast report is the need for a real-time analytics solution in Big Data management. It is no longer acceptable in today’s business environment to wait days or weeks for data analysis. Instead, we think—and the report reinforces—the need for “analyze then act” applications, which can help quickly steer marketing or sales, or head off trouble or take advantage of an instantaneous opportunity. Real-time analytics can be of particular value to CSPs and retailers, to help sway a customer’s opinion or offer an instant promotion or discount to a shopper when near a retail outlet. Site managers can also use real-time analytics when trying to understand motive and behavior for visitor engagement.
The Stratecast report devotes a good deal of time to outlining a “functional blueprint”; a data management solution model for dealing with Big Data. The ultimate goal of the model is to gain the full benefit of the data and incorporate it fully into the business. The entire model consists of knowledge management and baseline data collection and interpretation, data management (essentially the ‘business plan’ for processing, accessing, and managing data), Data integration, Extraction-Transformation-Loading (ETL), and Extraction-Loading-Transformation (ELT), Storage and Data Warehousing, Search capabilities, Security, enterprise rights management (ERM), analytics, reporting, collaboration, and fast-start tools.
UNICOM Engineering is beginning to see the Big Data revolution unfold, with an increase in cloud computing and the scale-up of computing capacity, networks, and on-site storage. Stratecast’s report finds that the market for Big Data, Analytics, and BI will be somewhere in the tens of billions of dollars range, and with a projected growth rate of 12.7 percent over the next five years. The factors that may quell the growth include ROI calculations that undervalue the potential of these systems and thus limit capital investment, and the continued reliance on IT professionals to provide the data processes themselves. The projections issued by Stratecast were somewhat constrained based on these limitations.
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