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Traveling the Big Data Super Highway: Realizing Enterprise-wide Adoption and Advantage

Traveling the Big Data Super Highway: Realizing Enterprise-wide Adoption and Advantage

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When it comes to big data, companies need to determine best fit with existing investments and incorporate proven best practices that enable them to run better and run differently.
When it comes to big data, companies need to determine best fit with existing investments and incorporate proven best practices that enable them to run better and run differently.

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Published by: Cognizant Technology Solutions on Oct 11, 2013
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Traveling the Big Data Super Highway:Realizing Enterprise-wide Adoptionand Advantage
When it comes to big data, companies big and small need todetermine not only the best ft o new technology with existinginvestments but also how to incorporate proven best practices thatenable them to run better and run dierently.
Executive Summary
The avalanche o data that is stressing — andoten collapsing — traditional computing systemsis matched only by the staggering number otechnical and architectural choices available tothose seeking business value rom this environ-ment. Thereore, big data platorms can be a dou-ble-edged sword. While they provide signifcant ITcost reductions and the power to analyze muchlarger data sets than previously possible withavailable IT capabilities, they can also unleashstrong disruptive orces, driven by a general lacko understanding during planning and implemen-tation.Users and IT organizations alike still have a hardtime understanding what big data technologyactually is and how to eectively apply it. Manyorganizations are struggling to transition intoull-scale production with their big data develop-ment platorms and are hamstrung to providethe business value promised and associated withsuch platorms.In short, big data opportunities are not withoutbig data challenges, the majority o which can begrouped into our major categories:
Immature technology landscape.
Impact on end users due to uctuations in thecurrent business model and shortcomings obig data technology.
Attempts to replace existing technologycomponents with a big data platorm.
Resource availability.This white paper discusses the challenges oimplementing big data technology and providesguidance on how to implement a big data initia-tive by incorporating proven best practices.
Fragmented Perspectives
You can hardly pick up a magazine or browse aWeb site covering business or IT trends withoutbeing bombarded by content extolling the virtueso big data. Proponents typically address thetremendous promise oered by big data tools
Cognizant 20-20 Insights
cognizant 20-20 insights|august 2013
and techniques, rom gaining insight heretooreunavailable, to signifcantly reducing the cost and/or time necessary to achieve business benefts.Also covered is the new-ound organizationalability to analyze data generated by devices andsocial media, as well as other unstructured andsemi-structured data.What stands out amid theseabundant capability andbeneft claims is the lack oa universally accepted def-nition o big data. Accordingto IDC, “Big data technolo-gies describe a new gen-eration o technologies andarchitectures, designed toeconomically extract valuerom very large volumes oa wide variety o data, byenabling high-velocity capture, discovery, and/oranalysis.”
In other words, this defnition incorpo-rates all data types managed by next-generationsystems that must scale to handle ever-increas-ing user workloads and data volumes.On the other hand, McKinsey & Co. defnes bigdata as, “Datasets whose size is beyond the abilityo typical database sotware tools to capture,store, manage and analyze.”
This suggests thatbig data’s size is relative to the eectiveness othe technology that handles it and that what con-stitutes big data today will not likely be big datatomorrow.All this said, there is little wonder why a widespectrum o big data approaches, and big dataresults, exists.
Invisible Ink
Most gurus consider the Apache Open SourceFoundation’s Hadoop technology stack as thequintessential big data platorm (see Figure 1).This stack actually comprises a small number ocomponents and does not completely addresskey issues pertaining to real-time analytics, datasecurity and operations. Customers requentlyselect one o the commercially available solutionsto address these issues.The problem is that all the leading big datasolution vendors are still scrambling to fll opera-tional, visualization and inormation discoverygaps while also planning major product changesneeded over the next six months to a year.A hidden message is written between the lines othis big data story. Consider this:
The capabilities available in the multitudeo commercial solutions vary signifcantlybetween channels and continue to diverge.
The current Hadoop stack is aimed at batchprocessing and is not tailored or real-timeprocessing.
Various tool sets are evolving rapidly and dra-matically, and this technological progression isexpected to continue.cognizant 20-20 insights
The leading big datasolution vendorsare still scramblingto fll operational,visualization andinormation discoverygaps while also planningmajor product changes.
Figure 1
Components o Apache’s Hadoop Platorm
    S   q   o   o   p   r   e    l   a   t    i   o   n   a    l    d   a   t   a    b   a   s   e    d   a   t   a   c   o    l    l   e   c   t   o   r    F    l   u   m   e    |    C    h   u    k   w   a    l   o   g    d   a   t   a   c   o    l    l   e   c   t   o   r
Hadoop MapReduceDistributed processing frameworkHDFSHadoop distributed file systemRstatisticsMahoutmachine learningPig data flowHive datawarehouse
 O  o i     e w o r  k  fl   o w
Z    o  o k    e  e    p  e r   c  o  o r   d   i       a  t    i       o 
AmbariProvisioning, managing and monitoring Hadoop clusters
Support or third-party data visualization toolsis currently not inherent in the Hadoop stack.
The database capabilities o the platorm donot currently provide high concurrency or adhoc query support.
Operational aspects o the platorm are lacking,such as point-in-time recovery and data-levelsecurity.
New organizational skill sets are required todesign, build and support applications runningon this platorm.Now that everyone is talking big data, shouldorganizations begin the implementation o a bigdata strategy? The answer is a resounding “yes.”The promise o big data to allow business usersto analyze large data sets in ways they cannotperorm today, while signifcantly reducing ITinrastructure, is real. However, it will take time totransorm both business and technology organi-zations into a state that will deliver ull businessvalue. Companies should understand the limita-tions o the platorm and use care when deter-mining where the technology fts, and where itdoes not.
Planning the Journey
To tap big data advantages early on, companiesmust ask — and hopeully answer — two unda-mental questions that are not mutually exclusive:1.Is the business goal to maximize the valueo data that already exists and solve currentproblems with better, aster, more agile or lessexpensive technology? That is, do we hope to“run better” ater big data is implemented?2.Is the goal to tackle long-standing unsolvedproblems or discover new solutions notpreviously considered, using new sources andnew technologies? That is, do we hope to “rundierently” ater big data is implemented?To counteract the disruptive orces causedby immature technology, organizations haveembarked on the journey along their own big datasuper highways and are beginning to pass the ol-lowing checkpoints:
Determining what big data really isand what it means to them.
Understanding the capabilities andlimitations o big data technologies.
Harmonizing existing technolo-gies with big data technologies to maximize thelie and use o existing IT investments.
Mobilizing resources and structur-ing a uid environment.
Continually improving ana-lytical capabilities through holistic adoptionacross the enterprise.The “unknown-uncaptured advantage” (shown inorange in Figure 2) depicts the loss o possiblebusiness value by the organization due to itsinability to identiy, and thus capture, opportuni-ties. In some ways, the orange area is the province
cognizant 20-20 insights
The Big Data Journey: Liting the Highway
Figure 2
    B   u   s    i   n   e   s   s    V   a    l   u   e
Captured Advantage
Awareness Innovation Managing Operating
e ere crc te tu e
nova ton 
Unknown Uncaptured AdvantageUncaptured Known AdvantageCompleted CheckpointsBig Data Super Highway

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