Changing the World: Big Data and the Cloud
We are in an age when jobs like "data scientist" are not far from reality. The convergence of two key technological areas -- cloud computing and big data -- are having far reaching implications that indeed are changing the world.
It's leading to the discovery of new drugs to cure diseases; predicting weather patterns more accurately (even predicting earthquakes?), finding better ways to use and save water, and so on. These are many of the ideas and projects that IBM has advanced with its Smarter Planet initiative, which has cloud computing and big data technologies at its core.
The Cloud Computing model is a perfect match for big data since cloud computing provides unlimited resources on demand. Just two years ago I was delivering presentations to introduce professionals and students to this new model. Today, cloud is a given, most IT people understand what it is, and many are using it in their jobs.
But while two years ago, Cloud computing was appealing mainly because of its "pay per use" model (ideal in tough economic times), today, it is becoming more important because it is the enabler of big data analytics.
As a quick review, big data is a collection of data sets that are so big that it is hard to collect, analyze, visualize, and process using regular software such are relational database management systems. Moreover, this data is typically unstructured. A recent study indicates that unstructured data account for at least 80% of the world's data. This means that many companies today are making mission critical decisions with only 20% of the data they have, the 20% of data that is structured and stored in relational databases.
The study also found that 56% of business leaders say they are overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages, and 60% say they need to do a better job capturing and understanding information rapidly.
Now it is possible to manage this vast amount of data, structured and unstructured. When we talk about big data, we not only refer to existing data that have been collected for years. We also talk about huge amounts of data being generated because of social media, mobile devices, sensors, and other technologies.
If you would like to get started with Big Data analytics on the Cloud, take the course "Hadoop and the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise" available at no cost from Big Data University (bigdatauniversity.com).
Discover more. Click to view our infographic on how the cloud is
helping organizations thrive in the era of Big Data.