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Why big, why now?

Aside from the ability to keep more data than ever before, we have access to more types of data. These data sources include Internet transactions, social networking activity, automated sensors, mobile devices and scientific instrumentation, among others. In addition to static data points, transactions can create a certain “velocity” to this data growth. As an example, the extraordinary growth of social media is generating new transactions and records. But the availability of ever-expanding data sets doesn’t guarantee success in the search for business value.

Data is now a factor of production

Data has become a full-fledged factor of production, like capital, labor and raw materials, and it’s not just a requirement for organizations with obscure applications in special industries. Companies in all sectors are combining and comparing more data sets in an effort to lower costs, improve quality, increase productivity and create new products. For example, analyzing data supplied directly from products in the field can help improve designs. Or a company may be able to get a jump on competitors through a deeper analysis of its customers’ behavior compared with that of a growing number of available market characteristics.

Storage must evolve

Big data has outgrown its own infrastructure and it’s driving the development of storage, networking and compute systems designed to handle these specific

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new challenges. Software requirements ultimately drive hardware functionality and, in this case, big data analytics are impacting the development of data storage infrastructures.

This was first published in April 2012

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