You are currently on IBM Systems Media’s archival website. Click here to view our new website.

POWER > Infrastructure > Linux

Finding Big Data’s Sweet Spot


Perhaps one of the most intimidating concepts in IT today is big data. It encompasses a wide array of compute-intensive data mining workloads, the results of which are of keen interest to business leaders and analysts across every industry segment, large and small. However, some small and midsized businesses (SMBs) aren’t sure if big data matters to them—and if it does, how to wrangle it.

The IT world has advanced and expanded rapidly and somewhat chaotically over the last decade, as has the data accompanying that evolution. The capability to capture and store all manner of structured and unstructured digital information—from detailed business reports to Facebook and instant messaging missives—can now be achieved quickly, efficiently and at very little cost compared to 10 or 15 years ago.

The challenge is figuring out how to understand and exploit all of that information. Making sense of big data has become big business in the form of real-time analytics, data mining, modeling and simulation, visualization, complex event processing, and much more. Entire industries have emerged, dedicated to collecting big data and making even more—albeit more understandable—data.

What Is Big Data?

“I think of big data as an addition to the analytics space, although most clients consider them to be the same thing,” says Gina King, IBM PowerLinux*, big data and analytics offering manager. “What big data has introduced is this capability to analyze unstructured data—things like blog posts—which can be incredibly helpful for identifying client sentiment.”

This concept isn’t new. Large enterprises have been storing and analyzing their more structured IT data for decades to create detailed reports and formulate long-term business strategies. However, as big data has proliferated and grown even bigger to include unstructured data, the computing power required to store and analyze it has improved dramatically. This, in turn, has brought that once-unattainable enterprise-caliber computing power into the affordable realm of the SMB community. SMBs are eager to explore the potential of big data—more out of necessity than curiosity—to better compete in today’s data-intensive business world.

Big data solutions can help companies realize better operational efficiency and profitability through detailed business insights, which can include everything from monitoring streaming surveillance video data to more traditional monitoring, such as keeping track of manufacturing equipment status, transactional data, relational database data, etc. Essentially, data about anything and everything exists to be captured, analyzed and acted upon if deemed necessary.

Ryan Rhodes is a freelance writer for IBM Systems Magazine.



2019 Solutions Edition

A Comprehensive Online Buyer's Guide to Solutions, Services and Education.


Advancing the Ecosystem

IBM Systems Magazine Subscribe Box Read Now Link Subscribe Now Link iPad App Google Play Store