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Advantages of Big Data in the Cloud

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Mohit Patil
September 17, 2015


Mohit Patil
Mohit Patil has written 2 articles for WebKnowHow.
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For any business, large or small, data and knowledge are the key assets.  It can help unleash and reveal hidden trends about the market and consumers, which may not be clearly visible otherwise. However, with the rapid technology transformation, organizations have to manage very large volumes of structured and unstructured data, which might be difficult to be stored and analyzed by traditional solutions.

Such large volume of data is known as ‘big data’.  Specifically, it can be defined as voluminous amounts of data (that includes structured data; semi-structured data; or unstructured data sets), which offers the great potential to be mined for extremely valuable information for an organization.  Examples of this include:

  • Businesses (especially retail companies) monitoring Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook in order to get a snapshot into customer behavior trends, perceptions of new products, as well purchasing patterns;
  • Automobile manufacturers monitoring Social Media sites in an effort to detect aftermarket support issues;
  • Financial Institutions using mined data and information from interactions with their clients to create new strategies for portfolio asset allocation;

Organizations have tried to store their big data sets on premises.  However, this is no longer a feasible option.  This is because it is an additional expense to procure the needed hardware and software, which is required to maintain big data, as well as hire specialized resources to conduct analyses on it.  However, there is one other option, which is attracting a lot of attention.  This is storing big data sets in a cloud-based environment.

Big Data in the Cloud

There are a number of strategic advantages that an organization can get by hosting their big data on a cloud-based platform.  Some of these include:

  • Rapid Deployment: Given the broad reach of the cloud platform, data can reside globally, at different servers, in different geographic locations. This can be especially useful for a multinational corporation with offices all over the world.  As a result, remote teams will have continued access to big data, to be able to process and analyze it quickly.

 

  • Infinite Storage There is virtually unlimited storage space in a cloud-based infrastructure.  For instance, with an on premise server, there is limited storage space, and it can cost a lot more to add that extra storage space needed to contain the big data.  However, in a cloud environment, extra storage space can be added quickly.  This can occur at just a fraction of the cost it would take to store this big data in a physical server, with assurances from the cloud provider that big data will be backed up according to a time schedule you decide upon, and if needed, will be restored in just a matter of minutes.

 

  • Easy Accessibility and Real-time Analysis

When compared to the traditional means of big data storage, data stored on a cloud-based platform can be easily and quickly accessed by the analysts. A prime benefit of using the cloud for hosting big data sets is that they can be updated in real time. This is required for those datasets, which are dynamic in nature.  For example, a major multimillion-retail store chain will want to have their data sets uploaded to their cloud based servers in real time, so that it can be quickly analyzed.  The prime advantage is that an organization can get real time views into customer purchasing trends. With big data analysis, these trends can also be extrapolated into the buying patterns of potential customers.

 

  • Data Analysis Tools

Many cloud providers are now also offering the sophisticated tools needed for analysis of big data as a bundled package. In contrast, if the organizations were to perform big data analysis, they have to invest into new analysis software and hire specialized talent to analyze and manage big data effectively.

 

  • Anytime, Anywhere Access

By using a cloud based solution for your big data needs, cross compatibility across different computing platforms can now be realized. For example, if an organization has different platforms with different operating systems and software, the same big data sets can be analyzed at varying levels, without any need for uniformity.  A cloud-based platform also facilitates for better collaboration across project teams by enabling anytime, anywhere access to big data.

 

  • Scalability: On a cloud platform, the big data sets can be rapidly provisioned as needed i.e. resources can be scaled up or down in just a matter of seconds. The primary advantage of this is that the organization will be able to adjust resource requirements, without having to pay extra for unutilized resources.

Some Interesting Big Data Stats

Big data will soon be a driving force behind all types of businesses, no matter how large or small. Consider some of these stats (source: Wikibon blog):

  • Over 2.7 Terabytes of big data sets exist in the cloud today
  • The Obama Administration is investing well over $200 Million in research projects related to big data
  • By the year 2020, it is estimated that the total number of business transactions conducted on the cloud will reach 450 billion every day
  • The popular social media tool Facebook currently stores, uses, and analyzes over 30 Petabytes of big data sets on its users
  • Google currently processes over 20,000 terabytes of big data sets (which is 20 Petabytes) each and every day
  • Big data set production will be 44 times greater in the year 2020 than in 2015

In conclusion, big data will drive the next technology transformation. Organizations will need to possess the ability to examine their data sets in real-time and leverage the cloud resources for greater cost efficiency. Technology consulting companies can play a significant role in helping organizations migrate big data to cloud by evaluating the right cloud providers.


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