Of all the current trends in technology, few have created as much buzz as cloud computing and big data. While both grew in popularity, it only stands to reason that they would eventually cross paths. This is exactly what has happened in recent years as the number of cloud services based around big data analytics has grown significantly. The appeal of using big data in the cloud has certainly caught the attention of many businesses, particularly new technologically-minded startups like Pinterest looking to take advantage of the latest advances to make their businesses more competitive.
These new gen companies aren’t just capitalizing on a new trend; there are real benefits for adopting big data solutions delivered via the cloud. The following examples are just a few of them.
1. Dynamic Scalability
Data centers have been used for big data analytics for years now, but investing in an on-premise data center is a serious financial commitment often out of the reach of many new companies. Data centers also take considerable time and resources to update when workloads increase. For that reason, many businesses are turning to the cloud for big data, since the cloud can quickly and easily scale when a project increases in size and scope. The process of scaling also helps companies keep costs low, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of big data without needing to spend a sizeable amount of money.
2. Immediate Use of Numerous Tools
The number of big data tools and their different functions can be intimidating to many businesses. Each tool has its own place and purpose, and finding the right one can be a challenge, whether it’s Hadoop, Spark, Hive or something else. Luckily, the cloud allows businesses to use all of these tools as needed. Before big data solutions were offered through the cloud, companies would often have to expend their resources on one tool and force it to perform the jobs they needed. The flexibility of the cloud gives businesses a wider range of choices immediately rather than investing the time and funding in building up their own ecosystem first.
3. Faster Time to Market for SMBs
Businesses looking to use big data generally fall into two camps: those looking to add to their business with big data and those looking to cut costs with new insights. For those looking to grow their business or perhaps go into the business of big data insights, big data in the cloud offers a much faster time to value. Rather than spending months or years to build up an internal infrastructure, businesses can turn to the cloud to immediately start building their business and bottom line. Using big data with the cloud essentially takes the process of product and service creation and kicks it into overdrive, helping companies go from an idea to reality much more quickly.
4. Big Data in the Cloud Helps Facilitate the Internet of Things
Much of the use of big data in cloud computing is geared toward an even more promising development: the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT requires massive amounts of data to be transferred and processed between different items and devices, and this can best be accomplished when done through the flexibility of the cloud. Utilizing this aspect of big data analysis enables greater communication between gadgets and easier management of a vast network of connected devices. With the IoT opening up so many marketable opportunities, the financial benefit of leveraging big data through the cloud is too good for many companies to pass up.
5. Cost Control
As alluded to in the points above, fast-growing data sets can quickly get out of control, limiting a business’ ability to play with the data and requiring costly additions to current infrastructure. With the cloud’s pay-as-you-go model, it becomes easier to control costs as companies can scale up and down as needed while avoiding latency for key business functions.
Beware Cloud Washing
As the cloud has grown in popularity and value, some vendors have added the terms “cloud” or “service” to their name with only slight modifications to the product. This trend of presenting a product as a cloud service without offering the full functionality a cloud service should offer is called cloud washing. When evaluating a cloud service, be sure to look for these key indicators of a true cloud:
- Unlimited elasticity (with true auto-scaling)
- Automated provisioning
- Pay-as-you-go pricing
- Fully automated operational environment
- Significantly lower onboarding costs
- Immediate start time
- Real-time user interface
Big data in the cloud has turned out to be a perfect match for enterprises looking to add to their capabilities while still controlling costs. Whether it’s used for testing applications, providing real-time big data analysis, using a variety of helpful tools, or scaling in reaction to the work needed, the advantages of the technology have lead many companies to flock toward it. As opportunities continue to expand, it’s to be expected that using the cloud for big data will grow in popularity, eventually becoming a permanent feature of many businesses.