There are many different ways to store big data. As the process of analytics has caught on, these options have become widespread and affordable. Companies can now host more information than ever for a reasonable price. Other new technology trends like cloud computing have helped this approach flourish. Whether businesses build their own clouds for security purposes or take advantage of the near-infinite scalability of the public cloud, they can take on big data without the same physical computing concerns that held companies back in the recent past.
Amazon Web Services recently became a large player in this arena with the announcement of Redshift, a service designed to help companies work with big data. With this leading player in cloud hosting openly casting its hat into the big data ring, businesses have a clear path forward, even if their budget situation is too tight to consider more traditional methods of big data storage and hosting.
Company profile changing
The growth of Amazon Web Services has taken the computing world by storm. InformationWeek recently probed exactly how much attention the online giant's storage options have garnered and found that market analysts have begun to upgrade Amazon as a whole due to the overperformance of the web services unit. These projections are based on the fact that customer demand is there for the types of options AWS is promoting - especially cloud storage for big data.
Tech industry insider Jason Hoffman told the source that AWS has encountered a large number of major companies eager to analyze their big data in its cloud solutions. This may be a minor surprise, as one of the cloud's main selling points is its applicability for companies that are too small to operate their own massive computing systems. According to the source, however, firms of all sizes have found that powerful analytics programs hosted in the cloud are a good bet and are making the switch.
Hoffman stated that his own company is part of the wave he described. His firm is analyzing more big data than ever and giving the cloud a serious look. The alternative to cloud-based big data analytics is a heavy focus on powerful in-house systems. These require massive capital expenditures and oversight, whereas cloud systems offer a streamlined product paid for with the operational budget.
The analysts quizzed by InformationWeek opined that Amazon Web Services has become such a phenomenon that it will soon eclipse the incredibly popular retail arm of Amazon as the company's growth engine. Profit margins in fields like cloud computing can be much larger than those in retail sales. Companies, for their part, are eager to jump into the cloud and become more active in hosted environments. By providing them a place to work with their data, AWS is filling a need.
Getting to the cloud
Analytics in the cloud is a commendable goal. Businesses moving to the new model could find that they have power they could never have afforded in a traditional IT setting. They could use that newfound ability to understand clients better than ever and race ahead in their respective industries. However, there is something they must handle before they can undergo this transformation - they need to find a way to get their data into the cloud in the first place. This is not as simple as it seems.
Actually transferring huge quantities of data to the cloud is a complex undertaking, as it often requires companies to use legacy equipment. This technology was not developed with big data in mind, meaning that using it for a cloud upload could result in massive bottlenecks and operational problems. Simply replacing these systems could be costly and take too long, meaning if businesses want to move ahead with a cloud deployment they will need to find a new way - possibly in the form of a specialized transfer program.
While a database's first move into the cloud will likely be the most large-scale and momentous in a company's cloud experience, the everyday transfers that happen after that are also important. Making sure every employee has access to the same information and a "single version of the truth" is vital, meaning having a file transfer solution in place is critical for continued performance.