Big Data Development Challenges: Talent, Cost, Time - InformationWeek
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
09:48 AM
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Big Data Development Challenges: Talent, Cost, Time

Data variety, storage costs, and other key factors can make it difficult for enterprises to take advantage of their accumulated data.

Large enterprises are embracing big data management systems to better manage their growing stockpiles of information. But the deployment of cutting-edge technologies such as Apache Hadoop, MapReduce, NoSQL, and NewSQL is not without its problems.

A recent survey by database vendor RainStor of mid-senior level executives shows the majority of respondents understand the value of big data to their businesses. However, the speed of data creation and assorted types of information--what data management pros often refer to as "velocity and variety"--are ongoing challenges, as is the ability to efficiently analyze all of this data.

Additional concerns include the rising cost of infrastructure and data storage, and the shortage of skilled workers trained in big data technologies such as Hadoop.

RainStor conducted the survey from mid July to early August. The respondents were from a variety of large-scale industries, including banking, communications, financial services, and manufacturing.

Three-quarters of respondents said that better management of big data helps their organizations make smarter business decisions. And yet more than a third (37.5%) also said that analyzing big data is their biggest challenge.

[ The people with control over the purse strings don't always see the value of big data. So Who Is Paying For Big Data Projects? ]

Given the unstructured nature of much of this information--which may include posts on social media sites, audio and video files, logs, and clickstream data--it's no surprise that organizations are trying to find the best methods to store and analyze it as efficiently and affordably as possible.

"Mainstream companies like a bank or telco are very interested in Hadoop, because it's become cost-prohibitive to keep volumes of data in traditional databases and data warehouses," said Rainstor VP of marketing Deirdre Mahon in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

But while Hadoop offers cost savings and is rapidly gaining adherents, it has serious shortcomings as well.

"We think Hadoop has great promise," Mahon said. "It's probably not robust or sophisticated enough to run mission-critical environments, but it's moving at a much more rapid pace than we would have predicted a year ago."

When it comes to using Hadoop to replace or augment an enterprise's current data warehouse, the consensus is split pretty much down the middle. Just over half (51%) of respondents want to use a Hadoop-based environment to augment their data warehouse, while 46% want Hadoop to replace their existing infrastructure.

And when enterprises that manage their big data analytics run out of storage space, where do they turn? Nearly 30% of respondents said they opt for less expensive data warehouses. Surprisingly, more than a quarter of those surveyed said they archive data to offline tape, an inexpensive but inefficient solution in a business world that increasingly values fast analysis of information. In fact, more than 12% of respondents said it can take one to two weeks (or longer) to reinstate data saved on tape for online query.

Another challenge is getting tape-archived data back to a form that users can read and query. At a recent Teradata conference, Mahon recalls meeting people whose job it was to pull older data off tape, which was often sitting in a warehouse, gathering cobwebs.

While managing and analyzing big data is a top priority at large enterprises, accomplishing this task isn't easy. The survey provides one very good reason why: Existing IT staffers are typically experienced users of relational and columnar-type databases, but they're "not seasoned java programmers or engineers that can easily deploy and support open source Hadoop, and then provide the analytics that the business demands."

It's readily apparent, however, that enterprises are taking big data analytics seriously.

"Big data is a fact of life, and organizations have to keep data for many more years," Mahon said. "So we're excited by the notion that enterprises are taking a more serious look at reducing their costs, because they have to keep all of this data online and queryable."

New innovative products may be a better fit for today's enterprise storage than monolithic systems. Also in the new, all-digital Storage Innovation issue of InformationWeek: Compliance in the cloud era. (Free with registration.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll