The 21st Century Gold Rush: Mining Big Data http://tnxmaverick.com/ ByPresenterMedia.com
Among the hottest trends today is a relentless drive by business for more and better information to inform and steer competitive growth strategies. The growing consensus is that information is like gold, and if information is gold, data is like the raw ore from which that information is distilled. On an individual level, information helps us every day with making better decisions, working more productively and with living fuller lives. Businesses similarly leverage information to thrive and establish advantages against competitors as a means to stay ahead of the curve. As company leaders have become more proficient at using information as part of their competitive arsenal, the drive to collect and extract ever-increasing information is quickly becoming a strategic imperative for enterprises across the board.
From rich ores to deeper sources • Much like in the initial periods of the gold rush, today’s gold – the easy deposits of information – have been staked out. One can say that the ’rich ores‘ of almost pure information have already been harvested. Structured data, which is the easiest place to mine for information, is now pretty well understood, meaning there is little room for significant new advances in this area. Nevertheless, there is still huge potential for innovation to capture less dense sources of information found in unstructured “big data”. • According to leading analyst firm IDC (Digital Universe Study, 2011), the amount of digital data being stored is more than doubling every 24 months and could grow by 50 times by 2020. Although the history of IT has traditionally been about “making do with not enough,” managing this data explosion is threatening to overwhelm an already overloaded IT infrastructure.
By seeing the potential value of each scrap of data, companies are increasingly eager to collect, analyze, store and preserve every byte they can. While large businesses struggle with multi-petabyte data sets, even small businesses deal with the 10-plus terabyte data sets that were the province of only the largest enterprises just a decade ago. Consequently, storage management is often an unpleasant and painful task – not just for IT professionals but for end users as well. • The challenge for entrepreneurs is to figure a way to fit into this new world where vast deposits of unstructured data is there for the taking. Without the right tools and architectures to deal with the information, however, big data can be a big problem and a company won’t be able to effectively use the information it has mined.
Fortunately, people have recognized that there is so much value to be found by harvesting big-data, that there are whole new segments of solutions being created that allow companies to deal with this deluge of data. The “easy” part is the data mining, that hard part is processing that data into something usable for the business. • Given this, here are three simple best practices that businesses can leverage to improve the storage and management of big data.
3 Best Practices for storing + managing big data • Automate what you can using data deduplication and compression • Preserving the data you’ve spent time creating makes sense – as does having backups of files. But there’s rarely a reason to keep dozens or hundreds of file copies across your storage system. Deduplication offers a specialized data reduction and compression technique for eliminating such excessive copies of information. The result is improved storage utilization without additional effort, which, in the long run, saves time, money and resources.
Adopt an easy to expand data strategy • It’s important to consider what storage architecture works best for your business. Scale-out architectures handle data growth differently, as capacity and performance expand with the addition of storage nodes in a building block fashion. This avoids forklift upgrades and data migration issues that are present in more traditional scale-up approaches. All in all, businesses need to weigh the apparent simplicity and familiarity of a scale-up architecture with the long-term performance and economic advantages of a scale-out approach.
Focus on software to fully understand the value of the storage solution • Business-class storage vendors traditionally emphasize the capacity and speed of drive technologies when articulating the value of their product. But the bulk of value delivered from most storage solutions really comes from the software smarts of a system. While it’s always good practice to buy solid, reliable drives for your system, be sure to first ask about the software’s ability to help manage your storage data deluge. • As today’s businesses are quickly realizing, the ability to effectively and efficiently manage data can be as valuable as the data itself, worth all its weight in gold.