Posted by: Michael Tidmarsh
Big Data, Storage, Virtualization
Post by Al Perlman
Big Data is one of the megatrends driving next-generation computing. The research firm IDC characterizes Big Data analytics as one of the four pillars of the computing industry’s Third Platform, along with cloud services, mobile computing and social networking. McKinsey & Company describes Big Data as “the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity.” Exactly who coined the term Big Data and when is up for dispute, but it’s really only been in the past few years that Big Data has become part of the consciousness and lexicon of IT professionals.
We bring this up because the concept of Big Data precipitated an interesting discussion following one of the dinner meetings last week in the Quantum event series titled Virtualization, Cloud and the New Realities for Data Protection. At the event the keynote speaker Greg Schulz was talking about Big Data in relation to the challenge expressed by many in the audience of needing to protect data – all data – with certainty. Schulz, who is a widely respected expert on storage and is the founder and senior advisor at The Server and StorageIO Group (StorageIO), was making the point that the issue of “certainty” in data protection played well into the Quantum story. The point was that Quantum has been protecting data with certainty for many years – in the cloud, outside of the cloud, on tape, on disk, on “little” data and on Big Data.
Following the event – on a shuttle bus, in fact – the discussion that began at the event was continuing full force. One of the participants raised the point that Big Data is a relatively new phenomenon so how could Schulz state that Quantum had been doing Big Data for years. Schulz asked the person who raised the question where he worked and what he did. Turns out he was the CIO at a company in geology. Schulz chuckled and mentioned activities such as seismic geosearch, mapping surveillance, geo-mapping – all driven by the concepts of Big Data analytics where massive amounts of data must be analyzed quickly and the storage solution must be high capacity, fast, accurate and reliable. “If those activities are not Big Data,” Schulz said, “I don’t know what on Planet Earth is.”
The point is that sometimes we get lost in the terminology and forget about the functionality we are trying to deliver. At these events, when Schulz asks participants whether Big Data applies to their environments, invariably many hands start going up when he describes the characteristics of Big Data and what it really means. There are many industries and applications that have been doing Big Data analytics for a long time – in CAD, government, in video and entertainment, healthcare, in scientific research, among many others. And for many of these organizations, Quantum has been the go-to supplier for housing, accessing and protecting their most challenging “Big Data” storage requirements.
The other reason we are relating this particular story is to try to convey the level of engagement that is taking place among participants at this event series, consistently vibrant and active across all of the various cities where events have taken place. During the dinner meetings, people are commenting, sharing stories, sharing experiences and sharing concerns. And then, when the formal meetings are over, they are sticking around, continuing their discussions, talking to peers, talking to some of the Quantum people and partners, keeping the conversations going.
“I’ve done a lot of these types of events through the years,” Schulz says, “and I find it’s always important to measure the success not just by the number of people that attend, but the level of engagement. At the events in this series, you can see how much the attendees are enjoying being there because of their level of engagement. When the events are done, people are not racing for the doors – they are staying, talking to one another, having follow-up conversations. And they are thanking us for facilitating a conversation and discussion, as opposed to a more traditional ‘death by PowerPoint.’”
The event series continues tonight with a dinner meeting in Uncasville, CT., at the Mohegan Sun Casino, which is convenient to many cities in Southern New England, including Hartford, New Haven, Providence and Boston. Then there is a one-week break before the meetings pick up again in St Louis on September 10; Portland, OR, on September 11 and King of Prussia, PA, on September 13. If any of these cities are convenient to you, it’s an event series worth checking out. Not only that, it’s free of charge. Register here.