”Big Data” refers to the unmanageable amount of data being driven by a connected world.
Posted by Richard Jenkins
It is becoming a challenge that companies need to address – quickly – in order to not just stay competitive, but to remain as a valid option in their sector.
However, with big data comes Big Infrastructure. Scalability of the essential facilities, technology and energy required to process data is as important, if not more important, as the data itself. Without a managed and scalable infrastructure, there is no Big Data to cause a challenge!
It is not just the volume of data which makes it ‘big’. It is all about the correlation of data and the necessary digital insight it gives. This understandably presents a unique challenge to all enterprises. How do you collect, store, analyze and protect big data effectively, but at the same time plan for its continual growth?
These tips are in three parts; the infrastructure required to manage the data, the analysis of the data and the strategic reasons for doing so.
1. Security. Ensure the infrastructure housing the data is secure. It’s tough to analyse data when it is lost. Data security is one of the largest issues for regulated industries and one of the biggest concerns for customers and executives alike.
2. Performance. Continual assessment of the environmental factors that affect the data centre is essential. Heat, humidity, liquid, unmanaged thermal fluctuations all lead to system failure and downtime. Monitor these factors, correlate and automate preventative actions and use historical data to plan for future additional capacity requirements.
3. Inventory/Asset Management. Data centres are continually mobile due to environmental conditions, fluctuating workload, maintenance, failures, depreciation, and many other factors. Like the security reasons, not meeting audit requirements ends up in fines and regulatory implications. Implement an efficient, automated asset tracking and management system.
4. Integrate. Don’t buy “best of breed” at the expense of integrated solutions. It is important that data is able to talk across multiple platforms providing information at consolidation points to enable action to be taken – either systematically or physically.
5. BI & “Big Data” Analytics. Probably the most important aspect of managing big data is the ability to capture the right data at the right times then analyse that data in real-time. This is not an inexpensive investment, however. BI applications have evolved over the years and are now the domain of the large data warehousing and management applications, which makes their integration and configuration simpler…but not simple.
6. Adapt. Continual process adaption is essential to the agile business. Too often processes become static, leading to an inability to react. Ensure the right data is going to, and being analysed by, the correct personnel or systems to ultimately roll up to a management information dashboard.
7. Plan your data center strategy. Large companies are now looking 0-5 years out to ensure they have enough infrastructures in place to manage the short-term implications of Big Data. Not doing so presents massive cost and scalability implications which could slow, or even stop, the growth of an organisation.
8. Manage Energy. Energy consumption and the environmental effects of data centres is becoming a leading reason for adaptation in the IT sector. Big data requires “Big Power” while governments and society are demanding strict governance around the resources consumed by data centres. Sustainability is key to the power of big data and the ability to use it to your advantage.
9. You can’t manage what you can’t find. Track and monitor assets to ensure data stays secure and available. Asset security is one of the largest infractions as regulations tighten around the security of consumer and corporate data.
10. Focus. Don’t get sucked into the hype around Big Data. Data growth is unprecedented and presents challenges on many levels, but stay focused on the strategy or your organisation and look for the data that most favorably supports that.