Looking ahead: Big Data
DevOps will be a big topic this year, and the other Big Thing for 2014 is Big Data. The name itself is slightly misleading: it’s not about data size, it’s about complex data issues and how to solve them. We are at the beginning of an exponential growth in Big Data. Take CERN – it generates the equivalent of every piece of written data that humans have ever produced, every four minutes. Add to that the myriad data being produced across the globe and exponential hardly seems to cover it!
But thanks to free, open source software like MongoDB, Hadoop, Redis and CouchDB, people are starting to be able to solve even the most complex data issues simply and very cost-effectively. Thanks to this and other developments in our industry, we now have the capability to handle all the world’s data that will ever be produced from now to eternity. Things that were extremely difficult or prohibitively expensive are now simple – global replication of data, handling of time-sensitive data or data from thousands of sensors in oil exploration or manufacturing, say. It’s solving problems we have wanted to overcome for years. Big data offers huge potential for ecommerce companies to understand and analyse not only their current and past customers, but all their future customers as well. We can now analyse almost everything. There’s no need to ever discard any data again. It’s cheap to store and you never know when it might come in handy.
One of the things that will underpin big data is social media. Analysing social media allows us to integrate and understand context and sentiment – not only what a customer bought but why they bought it or, why they did not. Big data is used in traffic, crime, the human genome project and countless other industries.
Last year, Rackspace acquired ObjectRocket as part of its Big Data portfolio, a MongoDB database as a service provider, designed to help our customers handle big data in the cloud and make this new technology more accessible. ObjectRocket takes away the complexities of handling big data because we do everything behind the scenes for you. Expect a lot more from us on MongoDB soon.
2014 is looking, in a word, big.