Understanding the nuances of Big Data

Big Data is perhaps one of the biggest buzzwords of recent years, becoming entrenched in the minds of every IT executive and organisation as the answer to all technology problems.

While the benefits offered are certainly real, it's important to understand big data and dispel the myths of this massive trend.

That's exactly what research organisation Gartner recently set out to do, and managed to debunk several of the biggest myths surrounding the process.

This article will explore several of these and exactly what businesses can do to take full advantage of the benefits offered by Big Data.

Our competitors have already implemented Big Data

It's common for companies to believe their competitors have already adopted a particular trend, and in many cases this may be true. This isn't so for Big Data, however, which is currently the subject of interest but not wide-spread uptake.

In a Gartner survey undertaken in 2013, interest in Big Data technologies and their associated services was found to rest at 73 per cent. Uptake is lower, with only 13 per cent of respondents having actually followed through with deployments.

Big Data hasn't passed many companies by, and is still in the early stages of both development and deployment. The time is now for organisations to begin considering how the trend can benefit operations.

Use of big data will eliminate the need for integration

While the popular view of Big Data is that it can enable organisations to read the same sources using a number of different data models, this isn't actually true.

This is called a 'schema on read' approach, and companies are also likely to believe it will enable end users the flexibility to interpret any data asset that's currently on hand.

The truth is that data is actually described and content is prescribed through a 'schema on write' approach.

Data lakes will eventually negate the need for data warehouses

Data lakes caused a stir earlier this year with the promise of far easier data management on a much larger scale – something many enterprises were no doubt interested in. This isn't actually true, and data lakes bring as many problems as they do benefits to the table.

Gartner has explained that it's misleading for vendors to advertise data lakes as warehouse replacements, or even as replacements for critical infrastructure. This is due to the fact that lakes lack the maturity offered through a warehouse – especially when it comes to the established technologies built up over a substantial period of time.

"Data warehouses already have the capabilities to support a broad variety of users throughout an organisation. Infrastructure management leaders don't have to wait for data lakes to catch up," said Nick Heudecker, research director at Gartner.

Using a framework to handle Big Data

"The biggest challenges that organisations face are to determine how to obtain value from big data, and how to decide where to start," the Gartner report explained.

For any organisation struggling to effectively utilise Big Data, the best course of action could be undertaking a training course in a renowned framework.

ITIL, for example, is the most widely adopted approach for IT service management around the world, and establishes companies with a framework designed to handle the identification, planning and support of IT services.

Applying this framework to Big Data applications results in an assurance that the technologies are continuously meeting business goals and delivering benefits.

ALC Training are a renowned provider of ITIL training courses in Australia, and can tailor courses for any number of individuals or any size of organisations. These courses are available in major Australian cities including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.