The rise of Big Data and Predictive Analytics

Mobile. Cloud. Social Media. These have been the juggernauts most commonly referenced in the IT industry over the last few years. But, there is one other term brewing that is receiving almost as much attention: Big Data.

According to Pat Gelsinger, EMC president and chief operating officer, when there is an IT problem a real smart administrator would start probing around the network and try to figure out what’s going on.

“Now I want to be able to do that in an automated fashion. That’s an area for Big Data,” he told Information Week recently in an article entitled “EMC President: Cloud’s interesting but not dramatic”.

A huge amount of information is now being collected in remote and onsite cloud datacentres around the world. There is thus a rising need for new software solutions that tells IT leaders what to do when a problem arises or even predicts a coming failure and how to avert it.

This is leading to a new field called Predictive Big Data Analytics. Cloud based storage may become a dominant force in EMC strategies, although precisely how is being kept under wraps. According to Gelsinger it will take several years before it replaces private storage most of which is driven by consumer services.

It appears many enterprises are using cloud based storage for test and dev purposes and not yet for mission critical systems.

“They need high performance. They need a five-nines SLA. They’re responsible for governance. They need to sign off on legal requirements. There’s a SOX requirement or other financial requirements associated with failover, failback. There’s a numerous set of reasons, a high-availability requirement. As they go international, they often just don’t have the network bandwidth to get to and from [cloud storage].”

Gelsinger confirmed that EMC has no plans to launch a service-orientated cloud storage model in the same vein as Amazon. Instead, it will continue to sell gear to cloud providers and not be seen as a rival.

In the interview he cited the example of the NYSE that is a prominent customer of EMC products. NYSE is now a service provider of analytics and VM services. Virtual Internet also uses VMware products to offer private and public enterprise cloud to customers seeking a utility pricing model.

Services providers and banks are now two big customer groups for EMC, he said.

“One way, we sell to the bank. The other, we sell to the service provider who is servicing the bank.”

The upshot is that Big Data is now one of the primary areas that EMC is focused on. Expect to see the trend trickle throughout the entire IT industry.

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