Big Data – the reality

Richard Brown

Although initially overwhelming, Big Data offers real opportunity for customers and the channel
There’s been a lot of noise around Big Data and industry analysts predict it is set to continue. But what do we mean by Big Data? There are broadly speaking two definitions of what Big Data actually means. The first being the management technologies, such as analytics and object data, so that we can use the information collected in a meaningful way. The other relates to the actual large volumes of unstructured data that are a result of more widespread use of sophisticated IT applications, particularly videos and images.

At Virtual Instruments, we’re primarily looking at the latter – large volumes of data, the challenges they create, and how to address them. Companies have been fighting the obstacles brought about by increasing data volumes since IT first became a key business enabler. From hard disk capacities getting stretched, to IT administrators having to manage up to terabytes and in some cases petabytes of data while maintaining efficiency levels, data growth has always been a bone of contention.

But the difference now is that Big Data generates a number of new challenges because some legacy technologies are unable to cope with such large quantities of data without compromising on aspects such as scalability, flexibility and cost. Due to tighter budgets, the days of simply over-provisioning to cover capacity-related performance issues have gone.

Organisations want greater control and management of their IT infrastructure for a better return on investment and more often than not, to give much better levels of performance. This is one of the factors behind the concept of Infrastructure Performance Management, or IPM, as a new position the datacentre should be viewed from; start by looking at the infrastructure as a whole then drill down and focus on the elements that need tackling.

This is where Virtual Instrument’s strength in Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) technologies is making a huge impact. Since our inception in 2008, Virtual Instruments has been in the business of helping customers to see what is happening across their storage infrastructure and now our technology is so advanced that our customers have real-time visibility across the whole IT infrastructure. Already 30% of Fortune 100 enterprises are taking advantage of the benefits of our flagship VirtualWisdom platform.

Virtual Instruments customers know that when it comes to Big Data each opportunity should be met with a targeted focus and concentration on the elements that need fixing rather than wasting time, energy and resources trying to address the whole infrastructure when some areas are working just fine.

For resellers this also means a shift in focus and while the keyword is still performance; it’s closely followed by infrastructure and application performance.

When it comes to Big Data, IPM is the starting point to build a complete picture of the environment, but then the focus should shift to the applications which are growing as it is easier to manage and budget for individual applications. So if a reseller has already helped organisations cope with data growth they can grab the opportunity relatively easily: when they plan a new infrastructure with a customer wrestling with Big Data they should ensure that this infrastructure can continue to provide the same level of performance, or better, than it did when it hosted a much smaller amount of data. Users want to enjoy the same or even higher levels of performance and this can only be achieved with an efficient infrastructure that doesn’t cave in under the weight of additional data.

At first glance Big Data can be overwhelming but if approached sensibly, Big Data can open a wealth of big deals for the channel and efficiency saving for customers.

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