Big data’s analytical power is generally spoken of when talking about its ability to improve efficiency and generally do what it is supposed to do – namely handle ever-increasing volumes of information for a variety of businesses.
However, this Forbes report illustrates the way in which online auction house eBay managed to take the concept of big data and apply it in an unusual way in order to save itself significant sums. At EMC, we think that this type of thinking is the new normal. The unusual becomes the usual.
Tens of millions of customers around the world and an incredibly complex infrastructure of online services mean that eBay is generally required to manage huge volumes of data on a daily basis. However, it also needs a significant IT infrastructure made up of various hardware components housed in disparate locations, all of which pull together towards a common goal. But this also costs the company significant sums of money (and significant means more money than you might imagine).
In the recent past, eBay decided to turn its knowledge of big data analytics on to this IT infrastructure itself and pulled information from every single asset and component, so that it could see which areas were operating efficiently and which servers might not be making best use of their resources and being exploited to the fullest extent.
The freezing void of space stretches out above us when we glance at the night sky. Humanity has been attempting to plumb its depths and learn its secrets for millennia.
Of course, with modern technology we are able to do more than ever before and the Deep Space Network, which is a global organisation that records data from various space missions, has been collecting vast amounts of information in order to help expand our understanding of the great unknown.
As you might imagine, the problem faced by this network is that the amount of data it has to deal with is becoming increasingly vast and scientists at NASA have been warning about an eventual overload for over half a decade.
All of the congestion is caused by the information drawn from 13 antennas arrayed at locations across the globe which are used to receive information beamed back to Earth by various space probes that are millions of miles away.
While it is relatively simple to store large amounts of data, even though it is expensive, the problems come when you need to analyse it all and make sure that it is kept in a very safe, secure location.
The solution to all of these problems has been proposed by Ouliang Chang, who is a postgraduate student at the University of Southern California in the US. He believes that a supercomputer should be built on the Moon, allowing for the storage and big data analysis of all the information which is currently handled terrestrially by the Deep Space Network.
The costs and logistics of building a data centre on the Moon are quite staggering, as you might imagine. Getting 450 grams of equipment out of the Earth’s atmosphere and taking it to our closest orbiting body costs £31,000, so Chang believes that the total cost of the project would be anywhere from £6 billion to £12 billion or more. You would also need to factor in the additional expense of setting up a separate base on the Moon, since the data centre could not exist in isolation.
Will there be a data centre on the moon one day?
Data scientists and business analysts: are they one and the same, or are they worlds apart? If the analogy that a data scientist is a business analyst working in California is to be believed, then the positions are only separated by a zeitgeist job title. But in reality, this isn’t the case: the two roles have very different parts to play in the ever-evolving landscape of big data. While data scientists are (and will continue to be) eagerly sought after in an attempt to plug a gaping hole in the employment market, business analysts are already there — on the ground, working with the data harvested by their enterprises. More and more as the industry progresses forward, these business analysts will be called on to contextualise that data, providing valuable business and industry insights.
Big data is sweeping into every part of the business world. According to the IDC’s Digital Universe Study, the amount of information managed by enterprise centres will grow by 50 times in this decade alone. And, as big data pervades the business world, traditional models will change to incorporate it and traditional job roles will change as part of a cultural disruption. The smart business analysts – those who wish to be change agents and seen as integral to their business and industry – will be at the forefront of this shift. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a primer for business analysts — something that you can cut-out-and-keep, or pass on to your colleagues. Open up the primer below.
Paris: city of love, art and, of course, analytics. Well, at least for the duration of this episode of The Real Big Data’s podcast, The Voice of Big Data. Because this edition of the podcast is all about defining big data analytics and how it’s overturning the business world, flying in the face of traditional IT infrastructure strategies.
My guests for this episode, helping me wade through the exciting and revolutionary world of analytics, are both from Squid Solutions: CEO Adrien Schmidt and SVP of Business Development John Broadhurst.
Are you looking for big data events and news? Then you’ve come to the right place. This week we’ve got details of more big data conferences and events taking place all across Europe, breaking stories about the role of big data in predicting crime, helping victims of Hurricane Sandy, and the legal and architectural challenges the industry faces, and all the lastest visualisations from The Human Face of Big Data campaign. We’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, so leave us a comment at the bottom of the page.