If you’re in any way connected to the monumental changes that are occurring in the IT world these days you should be well aware of the growing importance of Big Data. Over the course of the last year we’ve seen an explosion of interest in Big Data, as clearly evidenced by this Google Trends graph:
One simple glance at these statistics clearly indicates that global searches for “big data” are currently running at “peak” levels. In other words, we’re right in the midst of a ‘big data’ information boom.
Likewise, it’s not just individuals that are interested in this burgeoning area of technology; corporations and other organizations are all eagerly seeking to capitalize on this emerging force in IT.
But what exactly is driving all of this growth you might be wondering? Well, we can attribute most of this growth to the ongoing “organic” accumulation of data that we experience every single day. As you are probably already aware, vast amounts of data are routinely uploaded or captured via social media on a daily basis. In fact, according to a cnet.com piece, “Facebook processes more than 500 TB of data daily”. The point is, Big Data has become not only a hot topic, but also a major concern. Simply put, newer methods of breaking down, storing and analyzing this rapidly accumulating “data fire storm” are being developed, just to maintain order. This exponential growth of data isn’t a mere minor concern; it’s a serious issue that we must collectively address for obvious reasons. After all, most projections indicate that we’ll have 50 times as much data to deal with by the end of the decade as we currently have!
Luckily, solutions for dealing with big data are either “on the table” or have already been implemented; but the question is, how will the world’s major companies react to the promise that it (big data) offers? Currently, most of the larger corporations are coming to view Big Data as another potential “cash cow”. In the same way that natural resources might be refined for use in manufacturing or production, many of the world’s leading thinkers and business advocates are coming to view Big Data as something of an “untapped resource”. For example, given that a very large percentage of big data is garnered from individuals who are largely consumers, it only makes sense to assume that their data could be used to not only provide more accurate trending analysis as to what they’re interested in purchasing, but also what they would like to see developed. Larger institutions tend to spend significant portions of their annual budgets on advertising, through the use of Big Data analysis they might be able to significantly trim down these expenditures.
However, it must be noted that Big Data is literally everywhere you look. In a GigaOM interview, Jo Maitland (Research Director for the Infrastructure/Cloud channel at GigaOM Pro) noted that “the CERN project in Switzerland (LHC) processes something like 40 TB’s of data per day”. Clearly, this indicates that as we continue to progress forward in business, science, technologically and socially, we will continue to accumulate extremely large amounts of data. In other words, if progress is the cause, Big Data is the effect. Armed with this realization, it’s pretty obvious that increasing amount of energy and focus will be placed on Big Data.
According to the International Data Corporation, we are likely to see an increase in the market for technologies / services which help to support the Big Data sector, with the next several years being a period of intense growth. Additionally, their statistics and calculations indicate that by 2016, we will have seen revenues via Big Data increase to around $23.8 billion. Simply put, there is drive, initiative, purpose and just cause to assume that Big Data is poised for some type of “explosion” in the coming years. Whether or not 2013 will be the target year is not known at this time, but there is plenty of evidence that indicates that such a development is very possible.
Though we can’t be certain as to whether or not 2013 will be the year that Big Data really “takes off”, one thing is certain, it’s not likely to diminish in importance. Perhaps this is why many businesses and institutions with dedicated IT services are encouraging their specialists to seek out specific certifications in Big Data. It makes perfect sense if you think about it; having an IT department that not only understands the problems surrounding Big Data, but also possesses the necessary understanding to capitalize on its intricacies is a solid business move. Moreover, if we see a major upswing with regards to emerging Big Data storage and analysis technologies, those institutions who have invested in personnel-specific training will be front-runners when it comes time to implement them.