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IBM's Hot Weather Move, Oracle's Cloud Push: Big Data Roundup

Oracle's assertive cloud plans, and big weather plays from IBM and Amazon were among the top stories in big data for the week ending Oct 30. Here's a look at those developments, and other news from Microsoft, SAS, and more.
 14 Creepy Ways To Use Big Data
14 Creepy Ways To Use Big Data
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Oracle and IBM dominated big data and analytics this week, though Microsoft Azure, SAS, and others had their fair share of announcements as well.

Oracle pushed its cloud agenda hard this week at its OpenWorld event in San Francisco, promising to be the only provider that could offer the exact same applications both on-premises and in the cloud, including analytics. Oracle used its OpenWorld event in San Francisco to make its intentions clear on the cloud, with keynotes from CTO Larry Ellison and CEO Mark Hurd. Another keynote from Oracle President Thomas Kurian delivered on the promise with a series of announcements of cloud database services.

Meanwhile, IBM made it clear that actually owning the data is an important component of its overall analytics strategy with its acquisition of The Weather Company.

IBM Insight2015

IBM used its Insight2015 even in Las Vegas  as the venue for the to announce its Weather Company acquisition. Big Blue plans to use the analytics, cloud, and forecasting components available from The Weather Company as part of the foundation of IBM's Internet of Things and Watson cognitive computing efforts. IBM made a series of other announcements at Insight, including the expansion of its Watson ecosystem to include six new partners, and a partnership with Jasper. IBM also said it would open its cloud to support Apache Spark as a service on Bluemix.

AWS Shares Public Weather Data Set

Not to be outdone by IBM's weather acquisition, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced this week that its newest public data set is real-time and archival NEXRAD weather radar data, according to Ariel Gold, who wrote about the news on the AWS Official Blog. The Next Generation Weather Radar is a network of 160 high-resolution Doppler radar sites that detect precipitation and atomospheric movement and disseminate data in five-minute intervals. "This is the first time the full NEXRAD Level II archive has been accessible to the public on demand," she wrote "A wide range of customers have expressed interest in this data, including insurance providers, climate researchers, logistics companies, and weather companies."

SAS Launches Data Science Academy

Elsewhere in Las Vegas, SAS used its annual conference as the launchpad for its SAS Academy for Data Science. SAS said the new academy is designed to teach big data management, advanced analytics, machine learning, data visualization, and "the essential communication skills needed by data scientists today."

SAS also used its conference to focus on cybersecurity -- one of the key IT uses of analytics. SAS also announced it will merge its two fall analytics conferences into one next year.

[ Looking for more on the evolution of big data? Read Big Data Grows Up: APM Tools Emerging. ]

At the same time Dell announced it will make its Statistica advanced analytics platform available for free to all US college students and professors. The news came a week after Dell provided details about the newest update to the software, version 13.

Microsoft Unites Cloud, On-Premises BI

Microsoft this week posted a long product roadmap blog about SQL Server 2016. Pointing out that it's been positioned as a Leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics platforms for eight years running, Microsoft expressed its intent to bring together tools to make cloud and on-premises solutions align. In a blog post attributed to its SQL Server Team, the company said: "We are aligning our cloud and on-premises solutions. It is our intent that your reporting technology investments and expertise will transfer across these deployment modalities so you can easily mix and match on-premises and cloud components, and benefit from our unique hybrid scenarios." This hybrid message reminds us of Oracle's hybrid cloud statements earlier this week.

Azure Data Lake and Data Factory

And over at the Microsoft Azure Blog the company was providing details about big data pipelines using Azure Data Lake and Azure Data Factory. Microsoft Azure Data Factory Program Manager Gaurav Malhotra wrote in the post that the expanded Azure Data Lake includes Azure Data Lake Store, Azure Data Lake Analytics, and Azure HDInsight. "The Azure Data Lake Store provides a single repository where you can easily capture data of any size, type and speed without forcing changes to your application as data scales," he wrote. "Azure Data Lake Analytics is a new service built on Apache YARN  and includes U-SQL, a language that unifies the benefits of SQL with the expressive power of user code."