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Data—in its many forms and functions—can be likened to oil in a massive energy boom. Fortunately, enterprises do not need to set up and operate huge refining facilities to handle their data. Instead, there is a wealth of tools and platforms—many with relatively small footprints—that can be quickly put in place to handle even the most massive data loads. And the good news is that, unlike oil, data is a completely renewal and sustainable resource, and can be cost-effectively collected, refined and processed in many ways for many purposes.
The top trends shaping the data market this year include the continuing domination of big data analytics as a business imperative, the rise of interest in the Internet of Things, greater mobility, the increasing focus on accessibility and self-service, the growing ubiquity of data as a service as a subsection of cloud, the ongoing penetration of NoSQL databases, and the maturation of open source. All these trends are converging and overlap a great deal. Cloud, open source, and big data are dramatically transforming the way businesses purchase and use software and systems. Solutions can be delivered on-premises, from the cloud, from a managed hosting site, or some type of combination of the above.The following are the main areas of engagement comprising the solutions that are part of today’s database marketplace.
1. Big Data Analytics Is in Big Demand
Big data is not an arcane concept cooked up in the minds of analysts—it is here and it is a part of many enterprises. In terms of sheer volume, a recent survey conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., finds 14% of enterprises now manage more than a petabyte of data under their roofs—including all clones, snapshots, replicas, and backups. More than one-third, 35%, manage data stores in the hundreds of terabytes. (2014 DBTA Quick Poll on New Database Technologies, April 2014.)
Total Data Managed in Today’s Enterprises
<25TB - 37%
25TB to 100TB - 20%
100TB to 500TB - 15%
500TB to 1PB - 6%
1PB to 10PB - 7%
>10PB - 7%
Don’t know/unsure - 8%
An array of technologies and solutions is now surging into the marketplace that offer increasingly smarter ways to capture, manage, and store big data of all types and volumes at the back end. A company doesn’t need to be an enterprise on the scale of a Google or eBay, turning huge datasets into real-time insights on millions of customers. That’s because of the rise of low-cost solutions to capturing and analyzing unstructured forms of data that are now available to all.
A separate survey on data management practices conducted by Unisphere Research confirms that more than two-fifths of enterprises have formal “big data” initiatives underway. This points to a growing market for solutions that will help address the rapidly accelerating volume and variety of data now seen in enterprises. In addition, the third “v” of big data, velocity, calls for greater real-time capabilities. (“2013 Big Data Opportunities Survey,” sponsored by SAP)
Performance, predictive, and prescriptive analytics represent the next horizon for big data analytics. It is now possible to apply key performance indicators against data to develop a picture of a business’s overall performance. Predictive analytics help decision makers understand what’s around the corner for their businesses. Finally, prescriptive analytics is enabling automated decision management, freeing up decision makers from low-level decisions so they can focus on tougher, more strategic decisions.