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The true scope of big data

February 27, 2013 | By TEKsystems

big data security worker at servers

Big data is influencing the IT industry like few technologies or trends have done so before. If analyzed effectively, massive information caches can help companies improve their decision-making and compete on another level. However, managing big data is a difficult endeavor, according to a recent report by Microsoft.

"Big data absolutely has the potential to change the way governments, organizations, and academic institutions conduct business and make discoveries, and its likely to change how everyone lives their day-to-day lives," said Susan Hauser, a corporate vice president at Microsoft.

What is the potential of big data?

Big data is shaping our very lives in a number of ways. According to Dan Vesset, program vice president at IDC, people generate information everyday, whether they are driving their cars, shopping online, browsing the internet or attending class. The true advantages of this data, however, depends largely on differing opinions, he said.

"A lot of the ultimate potential is in the ability to discover potential connections, and to predict potential outcomes in a way that wasn't really possible before. Before, you only looked at these things in hindsight," Vesset said.

Is too much data a bad thing?

In addition to its sheer size, big data also comes with other potential issues. Gartner Research Vice President Hung LeHong recently told those in attendance at a Toronto conference that big data is expected to create millions of jobs by 2015, but only one-third of these positions will be filled, ITWorldCanada reported. LeHong suggested that workers with the proper background in event processing, distributing computing and storage, NoSQL databases and Hadoop will be highly in demand moving forward.

Identifying the right data is the key

Much like LeHong noted, Microsoft also realizes the importance of tools like Hadoop when it comes to managing big data more effectively. Microsoft said the platform helps manage unstructured and structured data, which generally includes Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL allows firms to choose specific pieces, rows or columns of their databases. On the other hand, unstructured information does not follow a certain structure and can include images, email and text.

Eron Kelly, general manager at Microsoft SQL Server, said the amount of data produced in the next five years will be greater than the previous 5,000 years.

"What we're trying to do is allow a broad set of skills, driving simplicity and ease of use into the area of big data," Kelly said. "Taking very complex technical problems and simplifying them with easy-to-use tools - that's been the Microsoft strategy over the last 30 years."

Don't get shut out

Big data positions are among the hottest IT careers today. Learn about free big data training available to TEKsystems consultants.