Posts Tagged ‘Big Data’

 

The Big Data Revolution – Part 2 – Enter the Cloud

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012 by

In Part 1 of this Big Data series, I provided a background on the origins of Big Data.

But What is Big Data?

Port Vell Barcelona

The problem with using the term “Big Data” is that it’s used in a lot of different ways. One definition is that Big Data is any data set that is too large for on-hand data management tools. According to Martin Wattenberg, a scientist at IBM, “The real yardstick … is how it [Big Data] compares with a natural human limit, like the sum total of all the words that you’ll hear in your lifetime.” Collecting that data is a solvable problem, but making sense of it, (particularly in real time), is the challenge that technology tries to solve. This new type of technology is often listed under the title of “NoSQL” and includes distributed databases that are a departure from relational databases like Oracle and MySQL. These are systems that are specifically designed to be able to parallelize compute, distribute data, and create fault tolerance on a large cluster of servers. Some examples of NoSQL projects and software are: Hadoop, Cassandra, MongoDB, Riak and Membase.

The techniques vary, but there is a definite distinction between SQL relational databases and their NoSQL brethren. Most notably, NoSQL systems share the following characteristics:

  • Do not use SQL as their primary query language
  • May not require fixed table schemas
  • May not give full ACID guarantees (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability)
  • Scale horizontally

Because of the lack of ACID, NoSQL is used when performance and real-time results are more important than consistency. For example, if a company wants to update their website in real time based on an analysis of the behaviors of a particular user interaction with the site, they will most likely turn to NoSQL to solve this use case.

However, this does not mean that relational databases are going away. In fact, it is likely that in larger implementations, NoSQL and SQL will function together. Just as NoSQL was designed to solve a particular use case, so do relational databases solve theirs. Relational databases excel at organizing structured data and is the standard for serving up ad-hoc analytics and business intelligence reporting. In fact, Apache Hadoop even has a separate project called Sqoop that is designed to link Hadoop with structured data stores. Most likely, those who implement NoSQL will maintain their relational databases for legacy systems and for reporting off of their NosQL clusters.

(more…) «The Big Data Revolution – Part 2 – Enter the Cloud»

The Big Data Revolution – Part 1 – The Origins

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 by

data-security

For many years, companies collected data from various sources that often found its way to relational databases like Oracle and MySQL. However, the rise of the internet and Web 2.0, and recently social media began not only an enormous increase in the amount of data created, but also in the type of data. No longer was data relegated to types that easily fit into standard data fields – it now came in the form of photos, geographic information, chats, Twitter feeds and emails. The age of Big Data is upon us.

A study by IDC titled “The Digital Universe Decade” projects a 45-fold increase in annual data by 2020. In 2010, the amount of digital information was 1.2 zettabytes. 1 zettabyte equals 1 trillion gigabytes. To put that in perspective, the equivalent of 1.2 zettabytes is a full-length episode of “24” running continuously for 125 million years, according to IDC. That’s a lot of data. More importantly, this data has to go somewhere, and this report projects that by 2020, more than 1/3 of all digital information created annually will either live in or pass through the cloud. With all this data being created, the challenge will be to collect, store, and analyze what it all means.

Business intelligence (BI) systems have always had to deal with large data sets. Typically the strategy was to pull in “atomic” -level data at the lowest level of granularity, then aggregate the information to a consumable format for end users. In fact, it was preferable to have a lot of data since you could also “drill-down” from the aggregation layer to get at the more detailed information, as needed.

Large Data Sets and Sampling

Coming from a data background, I find that dealing with large data sets is both a blessing and a curse. One product that I managed analyzed share of wireless numbers. The number of wireless subscribers in 2011 according to CTIA was 322.9 million and growing. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of data at first, if each wireless number was a unique identifier, there could be any number of activities associated with each number. Therefore the amount of information generated from each number could be extensive, especially as the key element was seeing changes over time. For example, after 2003, mobile subscribers in the United States were able to port their numbers from one carrier to another. This is of great importance to market research since a shift from one carrier to another would indicate churn and also impact the market share of carriers in that Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Given that it would take a significant amount of resources to poll every household in the United States, market researchers often employ a technique called sampling. This is a statistical technique where a panel that represents the population is used to represent the activity of the overall population that you want to measure. This is a sound scientific technique if done correctly but its not without its perils. For example, it’s often possible to get +/- 1% error at 95% confidence for a large population but what happens once you start drilling down into more specific demographics and geographies? The risk is not only having enough sample (you can’t just have one subscriber represent the activity of a large group for example) but also ensuring that it is representative (is the subscriber that you are measuring representative of the population that you want to measure?). It’s a classic problem of using panelists that sampling errors do occur. It’s fairly difficult to be completely certain that your sample is representative unless you’ve actually measured the entire population already (using it as a baseline) but if you’ve already done that, why bother sampling?

(more…) «The Big Data Revolution – Part 1 – The Origins»

CloudLink Now Available to All GoGrid Customers

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 by

CloudLink, a dedicated, private connection between GoGrid data centers, is GoGrid’s newest product that comes with some exciting new features. After being in private beta for several months, is now available to all GoGrid customers via the GoGrid portal. Customers who purchase it will have the ability to link servers from our US-West-1 Data Center to our US-East-1 Data Center via a dedicated, secure and redundant line. Customers are now be able to easily connect their servers via the private network between our Data Centers.

How do I get it?

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The first step is to purchase the product. We have added a link within the GoGrid portal where you can click to order CloudLink. After clicking on the link, you will be presented with a form where you can select the desired bandwidth. It will take at least 2 business days to activate CloudLink on your account – once it is ready, you will get a message from GoGrid with a CloudLink welcome letter.

(more…) «CloudLink Now Available to All GoGrid Customers»

2012 Cloud Computing Predictions from GoGrid Executives, Customers & Partners (Part 2)

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by

A few days ago, I published some 2012 Cloud Computing predictions from Warren Heffelfinger (CEO – GoGrid), James Urquhart (Cloud Writer for GigaOm & VP of Product Strategies at enStratus) and Larry Warnock (CEO of Gazzang). The beginning of any year is critical to not only reflect back on what transpired, but also to gaze into the future to see what is to come. With Cloud Computing, to quote an over-used phrase, “the sky’s the limit” and while there are some similarity within these and the previous predictions, there are also some distinct opinions as to where we are all headed in the cloud.

2012-cloud-year-pt2

In this article, I have compiled more insightful predictions from another stellar list of cloud experts, namely:

  • John Keagy (Chairman & Founder – GoGrid)
  • Carson Sweet (CEO – CloudPassage)
  • Antonio Piraino (CTO – ScienceLogic)

Below are their predictions so read on to see how they stack up!

John Keagy (Chairman & Founder – GoGrid)

(more…) «2012 Cloud Computing Predictions from GoGrid Executives, Customers & Partners (Part 2)»

2012 Cloud Computing Predictions from GoGrid Executives, Customers & Partners (Part 1)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by

As is customary with the passing of an old year and the exciting entrance into a new one, people try to make their best predictions as to what the future holds within their area of expertise. For GoGrid, this is obviously around Cloud Computing. This year, instead of making my own prediction list (as I have done in the past), I thought it would be important to get some other expert voices from the GoGrid and cloud community to do this task.

2012-cloud-year-pt1

The important thing to always remember here, especially when dealing with the cloud, is that it changes quickly. It’s similar to buying the latest technology, the moment you buy it (or make the prediction, in this case), it’s instantly outdated. But still, the process is fun if not, educational.

Below is a compilation of 2012 cloud computing predictions from a variety of subject matter experts and thought-leaders in the field of cloud infrastructure, security and services. The contributors are:

  • Warren Heffelfinger (CEO – GoGrid)
  • James Urquhart (Cloud Writer – GigaOm/VP of Product Strategies – enStratus/GoGrid Partner)
  • Larry Warnock (CEO – Gazzang/GoGrid Partner)
  • John Keagy (Chairman & Founder – GoGrid)
  • Carson Sweet (CEO – CloudPassage/GoGrid Partner)
  • Antonio Piraino (CTO – ScienceLogic/GoGrid Customer)

Because of the wealth of knowledge coming from this group, I have actually broken this article out into a series of 2 posts. Without further ado, onto the first set of predictions!

(more…) «2012 Cloud Computing Predictions from GoGrid Executives, Customers & Partners (Part 1)»