2016 is set to be the year when more and more businesses begin to utilise the potential of analysing big data. Whilst this can bring enormous benefits, it does, of course, require investment in new technology – big data analytics requires big capacity: increased storage, memory and processing power. This article will look at the options available to businesses and explain how, by using cloud computing, it can be done cost-effectively.
In addition, 2016 will also see a predicted 37% increase in cyber attacks and the more reliant organisations become on big data, the greater the potential impact. The graph below shows that, in 2015, hundreds of millions of people’s personal data was stolen from just the top 10 hacks.
What is obvious here is that, as businesses move into big data analysis, security has to be taken even more seriously to prevent hacking taking place.
The rise of big data
Big data is becoming an increasingly essential tool for businesses. According to Data Expert, Bernard Marr, “73% of organisations have already invested or plan to invest in big data by 2016,” which isn’t surprising considering the economic benefits it offers. Marr tells us that retailers utilising big data can increase operating margins by up to 60% and that Fortune 1000 companies can increase income by over $60 million with just a 10% increase in data accessibility.
Businesses are generating more and more data; they are increasing the scale of their monitoring, website analytics and tracking processes. And as technology continues to advance, this will grow exponentially. Harvesting that information can create insights that will revolutionise the world we live in and open up new opportunities for businesses that have invested in their data infrastructure and are quick enough to take advantage.
Gearing up for Big Data
Handling big data requires more servers with larger storage, faster processors, bigger memory and the ability to work with power hungry applications. Businesses will require systems that can adequately capture, store, search, share, transfer, analyse and visualise the data they are producing.
All of this, of course, can be very expensive. Capital expenditure can be significant – and on-going. Not only is there an increase in the number of servers required, but also an increase in operating costs: storage facilities, power, human resources, software and security.
There is also the issue of scalability. Big data will get bigger; there will be a constant need to expand and increasing pressure to upgrade servers and software as new, improved technology is developed.
Financial and security benefits of the cloud
A significant challenge for companies using big data will be how to increase capacity whilst keeping expenditure at an affordable level. It is here that the cloud comes into its own. Cloud computing is the only system that enables businesses to improve their agility, increase efficiency and scale their data capability whilst reducing costs. It’s less expensive than in-house storage and, as data is held remotely, there is no expenditure on power.
Cloud computing also provides security benefits by offering better data centre and virtual system security than in-house systems. It gives a level of protection from emerging threats that cannot be managed in-house. In addition, as the servers are hosted in a variety of locations, data is more secure than if stored in a single location. Cloud users also have fewer service disruptions and benefit from quicker recovery and reduced downtime.
Different types of cloud deployment models
Businesses who opt for cloud hosting have three different deployment models to choose from: private, public and hybrid. Below, we’ll give a brief explanation of what they are and the benefits of each.
A private cloud is where a company’s data is stored and processed on a private network of servers. Whilst private clouds can provide the strongest level of security, they do require the largest capital expenditure, as the company will still need to purchase and maintain their own cloud system. However, this is the ideal choice for organisations that have to conform to strict data security regulations, such as the police and NHS.
A public cloud is where a business data is stored and processed across a group of servers on the internet. As the cloud service provider uses its servers to host hundreds or thousands of other companies, this model offers the increased efficiency in shared resources and, consequently, reduced costs.
A hybrid cloud allows businesses to keep their most sensitive data on private servers whilst using a public cloud provider to store and process other data. Whilst this offers a reduced cost compared to a purely private cloud model, it can make data management more complicated. There will be the need to make sure that the private and public elements of the systems are compatible and there may be differing security measures on each part of the system.
Companies opting for cloud hosting should undertake a cost-benefit analysis to see which option is best for them over the long term.
Harness the power of Hadoop
It’s an odd sounding name, but Hadoop is likely to become familiar to many during 2016. This open source software framework from Apache has helped revolutionise storage and large scale data processing over the last few years and is becoming increasingly popular. It’s already in use by some of the world’s biggest data users including Amazon, Citi Group, eBay, Facebook and Google.
Its popularity is easy to understand: Hadoop is highly scalable and can store and distribute enormous data sets across hundreds of servers; it is extremely cost-effective, massively reducing the cost of storage and processing; and it is also highly flexible, enabling businesses to process new and different types of data, including unstructured data.
What’s more, Hadoop’s unique storage method enables blisteringly fast computing, processing terabytes in minutes, whilst ensuring that data is never lost – it always creates a separate copy should there be a failure elsewhere in the system.
Big data analytics provides businesses with the actionable data needed to become smarter and leaner, it helps them interface with customers far more effectively using cross-channel communications and gives a much more profound insight into their markets, helping them shape and control their future.
For businesses undertaking big data analytics, Apache Hadoop is the most useful tool to reduce costs whilst improving performance and productivity, no matter how big the data is. And it’s ideal for cloud computing.
For companies starting to use big data, using cloud-based computer technology is the most cost-effective way of achieving their goals. Its pay-per-consume model provides cost-efficient scalability and the high spec technology available provides the capacity, security and resources to work productively with very large volumes of data.
eUKhost Cloud Options
The eUKhost cloud environment has been engineered to deliver predictable and consistent performance with 100% uptime guarantee. We have produced a system that guards against anything from hard disk failure to an entire server failure. We offer both VMware or Hyper-V cloud hosting plans to suit your individual requirements. In addition, we also offer our eNlight, pay-as- you go, cloud hosting service.
Established industry leader, VMware, allows you to host virtual machines using any operating system and is the most effective way for large enterprises to consolidate their physical infrastructures into simple, more affordable solutions.
Hyper-V, a proprietary component of the Windows server platform, provides a rich feature set that has been created to guarantee stability, availability, high performance and manageability.
eNlight Cloud is a pay as you go cloud hosting platform that intelligently autoscales computing resources and charges you only for the resources which your cloud server uses.