The big promise of Big Data: What you need to know today

Hadoop and other tools can unlock critical insights from unfathomable volumes of corporate and external data

By Frank J. Ohlhorst, InfoWorld |  Software, Analytics

One example is Datameer, which provides a platform to collect and read different kinds of large data stores, put them into a Hadoop framework, and then provide tools for analysis of this data. Basically, Datameer seeks to hide the complexity of Hadoop and provide analysis tools on top of it. Datameer's sweet spot is data sources that exceed 10TB, the size at which Datameer says companies begin to struggle with using traditional technologies for data analysis.

Other commercial vendors offering similar approaches to Big Data analytics include Appistry, Cloudera, Drawn to Scale HQ, Goto Metrics, Karmasphere, and Talend. And the three main database vendors -- IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle -- all support Hadoop interaction, though in different ways. The open source BI vendor Pentaho also supports Hadoop.

Big Data fits businesses of all sizes Big Data is not just all about size; it is also about performance, whatever the dimensions of the data set. That matters for immediate analytics, such as assessing a customer's behavior on a website to better understand what support they need or product they seek, or figuring out implications of current weather and other conditions on delivery routing and scheduling.

That is where server clusters, high-performance file systems, and parallel processing come into play. In the past, those technologies were too expensive for all but the largest businesses. Today, virtualization and commodity hardware have reduced the costs significantly, making Big Data available to small and medium-size businesses.

Those smaller businesses also have another path to Big Data analytics: the cloud. Cloud services for Big Data are popping up, offering platforms and tools to perform analytics quickly and efficiently.

But do smaller businesses really need access to Big Data? Simply put, yes. All companies have Big Data whether they realize it or not. For example, most online businesses collect large volumes of data from their log files and clickstream data. For companies that don't have such data streams, storing gigabytes not terabytes of information, Big Data tools let them tap into the vast trove of publicly available data sources.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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