As the amount of incoming information increases every day, we need structures that are capable of handling the deluge. This is both true of online and offline information. When articles online talk about “big data,” they’re referring to both the sheer amount of data and the industry surrounding how we interpret that incredible amount. A lot of companies have heard this buzz word and begun to panic in a Y2K style. Trust us, this development is neither good nor bad: it’s whatever you make of it.
Big Data, defined
Statistics is a major factor here. The amount of space your servers can hold is one thing; most companies can handle data in the physical or financial sense. But how that data is organized, categorized, and reviewed is what’s keeping us on our toes. Conventional methods can’t parse all of this information and glean statistics from it.
For some companies, like Facebook, this refers to the way people navigate your website and how all of the analytics may be reviewed. Big Data can also (maybe especially) refer to a business whose numbers are less opaque. A storefront, a government institution, a manufacturing group. The amount of data they take in can be on a massive scale— we’re talking several hundred petabytes a year.
To give you a sense of scale, that’s 700,000,000,000 floppy disks (remember those?), or 111,500,000 DVDs. The Square Kilometer Array, a state-of-the-art telescope currently under construction, will be generating 1,376 petabytes of data per day. So, you can see where managing that amount of info becomes an issue.
The Three V’s (No, not “Veni, vidi, vici”)
In 2000, Doug Laney of Gartner, Inc. reported that growth in data was defined by Volume, Velocity, and Variety. There have been many adjustments to this theory by other analysts, but the core concept is this: Data growth is a problem of size, speed with which data moves through a system, and the different formats it comes in. When you keep these in mind, you can tackle any petabyte problem with some calm and clarity.
Is Big Data a document management issue?
Figuring out how and where to store your data is as easy as renting server space, so you should have Volume under control. The rate at which data comes in can be overwhelming, and without a way to collect and catalog that information, one could get left behind. Luckily, for rapid influx of documents, a program like Contentverse allows a user to categorize and place files in folders based on a set of fields.
This brings us to Variety. Big Data comes in a continuously expanding number of types and hierarchies. In fact, that expanding number is a form of Big Data itself. Contentverse can likewise keep the list of file formats manageable. As each document enters your system, sending it to the location it best fits is a simple process.
If it’s so easy, why is it such a problem?
This buzz word has been around for a while now, but only recently has it claimed such a significant place in the minds of business intelligence analysts today. We have come to a crossroads, where many companies are still using software that was not made to handle data that climbs higher than a few hundred gigabytes. But 500 GB is the current minimum for the hard drive capacity on a single laptop, which says nothing of the storage space on a host of servers.
The reason Big Data has become an exciting (or maybe disquieting) topic is that data will only keep increasing according the three V’s, making the issue an escalating one. You need the information that is coming to your company, whether through social media, page views, invoices, purchase orders, or any other data set. There is software and hardware that makes collecting and organizing it all a walk in the park. So, don’t panic! Prepare.
About the Author:
|Daniel Cochran is a Creative Content Coordinator at Computhink. His background is in fiction writing and book sales, but he is thrilled to be a part of the marketing revolution. He is currently enthralled in the throes of blog writing, comic drawing, and brain storming, loving every minute of it. Daniel also enjoys riding his bicycle to and from the coffee shop, ordering coffee at the coffee shop, and enjoying coffee with other coffee hounds at the coffee shop. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.