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Archive for June, 2015

by: Bsomich
28  Jun  2015

MIKE2.0 Community Update

Interested in better data management? See what’s been happening in the MIKE2.0 community this month:

 

  
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This Week’s Blogs for Thought:

Key Considerations for a Big Data StrategyMost companies by now understand the inherent value found in big data. With more information at their fingertips, they can make better decisions regarding their businesses. That’s what makes the collection and analysis of big data so important today. Any company that doesn’t see the advantages that big data brings may quickly find themselves falling behind their competitors.

Read more.

The Internet was a mistake. Now let’s fix it. 

Each generation over the last century has seen new technologies that become so embedded in their lives that its absence would be unimaginable.  Early in the 20th century it was radio, which quickly become the entertainment of choice, then television, video and over the past two decades it has been the Internet. For the generation who straddles the implementation of each, there have been format and governance debates which are quickly forgotten.  Today, few remember the colour television format choice every country made between NTSC and PAL just as anyone who bought a video recorder in the early 1980s had to choose between VHS and Beta.

Read more.

Flash Quiety Taking Over Disk in a Big Data World

Right now, we live in the big data era. What was once looked at as a future trend is now very much our present reality. Businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes have embraced big data as a way to improve their operations and find solutions to longstanding problems. It’s almost impossible to overstate just how much big data has impacted the world in such a short amount of time, affecting everyone’s life whether we truly comprehend how.

Read more.

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Category: Information Development
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by: Robert.hillard
20  Jun  2015

The Internet was a mistake, now let’s fix it

Each generation over the last century has seen new technologies that become so embedded in their lives that its absence would be unimaginable.  Early in the 20th century it was radio, which quickly become the entertainment of choice, then television, video and over the past two decades it has been the Internet.

For the generation who straddles the implementation of each, there have been format and governance debates which are quickly forgotten.  Today, few remember the colour television format choice every country made between NTSC and PAL just as anyone who bought a video recorder in the early 1980s had to choose between VHS and Beta.

It is ironic that arguably the biggest of these technologies, the Internet, has been the subject of the least debate on the approach to governance, standards and implementation technology.

Just imagine a world where the Internet hadn’t evolved in the way it did.  Arguably the connectivity that underpins the Internet was inevitable.  However, the decision to arbitrarily open-up an academic network to commercial applications undermined well progressed private sector offerings such as AOL and Microsoft’s MSN.

That decision changed everything and I think it was a mistake.

While the private sector offerings were fragmented, they were well governed and with responsible owners.

Early proponents of the Internet dreamed of a virtual world free of any government constraints.  Perhaps they were influenced by the end of the Cold War.  Perhaps they were idealists.  Either way, the dream of a virtual utopia has turned into an online nightmare which every parent knows isn’t safe for their children.

Free or unregulated?

The perception that the Internet is somehow free, in a way that traditional communications and sources of information are not, is misguided.

Librarians have long had extraordinary codes of conduct to protect the identity of borrowers from government eyes.  Compare that to the obligation in many countries to track metadata and the access that police, security agencies and courts have to the online search history of suspects.

Telephone networks have always been open to tapping, but the closed nature of the architecture meant that those points are governed and largely under the supervision of governments and courts.  Compare that to the Internet which does theoretically allow individuals to communicate confidentially with little chance of interception but only if you are one of the privileged few with adequate technical skill.  The majority of people, though, have to just assume that every communication, voice, text or video is open to intercept.

Time for regulation

We need government in the real world and we should look for it on the Internet.

The fact that it is dangerous to connect devices directly to the internet without firewalls and virus protection is a failure of every one of us who is involved in the technology profession.  The impact of the unregulated Internet on our children and the most vulnerable in our society reflects poorly on our whole generation.

It is time for the Internet to be properly regulated.  There is just too much risk and (poor) regulation is being put in place by stealth anyway.  Proper regulation and security would add a layer of protection for all users.  It wouldn’t remove all risk, but even the humble telephone has long been used as a vehicle for scams, however remedies have been easier to achieve and law enforcement more structured.

The ideal of the Internet as a vehicle of free expression need not be lost and in fact can be enhanced by ethically motivated governance with the principal of free speech at its core.

Net neutrality is a myth

Increasing the argument for regulation is the reality of the technology behind the Internet.  Most users assume the Internet is a genuinely flat virtual universe where everyone is equal.  In reality, the technology of the Internet is nowhere near the hyperbole.  Net neutrality is a myth and we are still very dependent on what the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or telecommunications companies do from an architecture perspective (see The architecture after cloud).

Because the Internet is not neutral, there are winners and losers just as there are in the real world.  The lack of regulation means that they come up with their own deals and it is simply too complicated for consumers to work out what it all means for them.

Regulation can solve the big issues

The absence of real government regulation of the Internet is resulting in a “Wild West” and an almost vigilante response.  There is every probability that current encryption techniques will be cracked in years to come, making it dangerous to transmit information that could be embarrassing in the future.  This is leading to investment in approaches such as quantum cryptography.

In fact, with government regulation and support, mathematically secure communication is eminently possible.  Crypto theory says that a truly random key that is as long as the message being sent cannot be broken without a copy of the key.  Imagine a world where telecommunication providers working under appropriate regulations issued physical media similar to passports containing sufficient random digital keys to transmit all of the sensitive information a household would share in a year or even a decade.

We would effectively be returning to the model of traditional phone services where telecommunication companies managed the confidentiality of the transmission and government agencies could tap the conversations with appropriate (and properly regulated) court supervision.

Similarly, we would be mirroring the existing television and film model of rating all content on the Internet allowing us to choose what we want to bring into our homes and offices.  Volume is no challenge with an army of volunteers out there to help regulators.

Any jurisdiction can start

Proper regulation of the internet does not need to wait for international consensus.  Any one country can kick things off with almost immediate benefit.  As soon as sufficient content is brought into line, residents of that country will show more trust towards local providers which will naturally keep a larger share of commerce within their domestic economy.

If it is a moderately large economy then the lure of frictionless access to these consumers will encourage international content providers to also fall into line given the cost of compliance is likely to be negligible.  As soon as that happens, international consumers will see the advantage of using this country’s standards as a proxy for trust.

Very quickly it is also likely that formal regulation in one country will be leveraged by governments in others.  The first mover might even create a home-grown industry of regulation as well as supporting processes and technology for export!

Tags: , ,
Category: Information Governance
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by: Jonathan
19  Jun  2015

Key Considerations for a Big Data Strategy

Most companies by now understand the inherent value found in big data. With more information at their fingertips, they can make better decisions regarding their businesses. That’s what makes the collection and analysis of big data so important today. Any company that doesn’t see the advantages that big data brings may quickly find themselves falling behind their competitors. To benefit even more from big data, many companies are employing big data strategies. They see that it is not enough to simply have the data at hand; it must be utilized in the most effective manner to maximize its potential. Coming up with the best big data strategy, however, can be difficult, especially since every organization has different needs, goals, and resources. When creating a big data strategy, it’s important for companies to consider several main issues that can greatly affect its implementation.

When first developing a big data strategy, businesses will need to look at the current company culture and change it if necessary. This essentially means to encourage employees throughout the whole organization to get into the spirit of embracing big data. That includes people on the business side of things along with those in the IT department. Big data can change the way things are done, and those who are resistant to those changes could be holding the company back. For that reason, they should be encouraged to be more open about the effect of big data and ready to accept any changes that come about. Organizations should also encourage their employees to be creative with their big data solutions, basically fostering an atmosphere of experimentation while being willing to take more risks.

As valuable as big data can be, simply collecting it for the sake of collecting big data will often result in failure. Every big data strategy needs to account for specific business objectives and goals. By identifying precisely what they want to do with their data, companies can enact a strategy that drives toward that single objective. This makes the strategy more effective, allowing organizations to avoid wasting money and resources on efforts that won’t benefit the company. Knowing the business objectives of a big data strategy also helps companies identify what data sources to focus on and what sources to steer clear from.

It’s the value that big data brings to an organization that makes it so crucial to properly use it. When creating a big data strategy, businesses need to make sure they view big data as a company-wide asset, one which everyone can use and take advantage of. Too often big data is seen as something meant solely for the IT department, but it can, in fact, benefit the organization as a whole. Big data shouldn’t be exclusive to only one group within a company. On the contrary, the more departments and groups can use it, the more valuable it becomes. That’s why big data strategies need a bigger vision for how data can be used, looking ahead to the long-term and avoiding narrowly-defined plans. This allows companies to dedicate more money and resources toward using big data, which helps them to innovate and use it to create new opportunities.

Another point all organizations need to consider is the kind of talent present in their companies. Data scientists are sought by businesses the world over because they can provide a significant boost to accomplishing established big data business goals. Data scientists are different from data analysts since they can actually build new data models, whereas analysts can only use models that have been pre-made. As part of a big data strategy, the roles and responsibilities of data scientists need to be properly defined, giving them the opportunity to help the organization achieve the stated business objectives. Finding a good data scientist with skills involving big data platforms and ad hoc analysis that are appropriate for the industry can be difficult with demand so high, but the value they can add is well worth it.

An organized and thoughtful big data strategy can often mean the difference between successful use of big data and a lot of wasted time, effort, and resources. Companies have a number of key considerations to account for when crafting their own strategies, but with the right mindset, they’ll know they have the right plans in place. Only then can they truly gain value from big data and propel their businesses forward.

Tags: ,
Category: Business Intelligence
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by: RickDelgado
18  Jun  2015

Flash Quietly Taking Over Disk in a Big Data World

Right now, we live in the big data era. What was once looked at as a future trend is now very much our present reality. Businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes have embraced big data as a way to improve their operations and find solutions to longstanding problems. It’s almost impossible to overstate just how much big data has impacted the world in such a short amount of time, affecting everyone’s life whether we truly comprehend how. That means we live in a world awash in data, and as companies pursue their own big data strategies, they’ve had to rethink how to store all that information. Traditional techniques have proven unable to handle the huge amount of data being generated and collected on a daily basis. What once was dominated by hard disk drives (HDD) is now rapidly changing into a world driven by solid-state drives (SSD), otherwise known as flash storage.

For years, when talking of big data analytics, the assumption was that a business was using disk. There were several reasons for this, the main one being cost. Hard disk drives were simply cheaper, and for the most part they could deal with the increasing workloads placed upon them. The more data measured and generated, however, the more the limitations of HDD were unmasked. This new big data world needed a storage system capable of handling the workload, and thus the migration to flash storage began.

Many, including Gartner, peg 2013 as the year the switch really gained steam. Solid-state arrays had already been a storage strategy up until then, but in 2013 flash storage manufacturers began constructing arrays with new features like thin provisioning, deduplication, and compression. Suddenly, the benefits gained from using flash storage outweighed some of the drawbacks, most notably the higher cost. In a single year, solid-state arrays saw a surge in sales, increasing by more than 180 percent from 2012. With the arrival of flash storage to the mainstream, organizations could begin to replace their hard disk drives with a system more capable of processing big data.

And that’s really a main reason why flash storage has caught on so quickly. SSDs provide a much higher performance than the traditional storage options. Of particular note is the reduction in the time it takes to process data. Just one example of this is the experience from the Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which began collecting big data but was soon met by long delays in production due to having to sort through loads of new information. When the company adopted flash storage solutions, the amount of time needed to process data was cut dramatically. For example, processing jobs taking 45 minutes now only took six. These kind of results aren’t unique, which is why so many other businesses are seeking flash storage as their primary means of storing big data.

Many tech companies are responding to this increased demand by offering up more options in flash storage. SanDisk has recently unveiled new flash systems specifically intended to help organizations with their efforts in big data analytics. The new offerings are meant to be an alternative to the tiered storage often seen in data centers. Other major tech companies, such as Dell, Intel, and IBM, have shown similar support for flash storage, indicating the lucrative nature of offering flash solutions. The growth isn’t just being driven by private companies either; educational institutions have found a need for flash storage as well. MIT researchers announced last year that they would be switching from hard disks to flash storage in order to handle the demands of big data more effectively. The researchers determined that hard disk drives were too slow, so a better performing storage solution was needed.

As can be seen, flash storage has been quietly but surely taking over hard disk’s turf. That doesn’t mean hard disk drives will soon be gone for good. HDD will likely still be used for offline storage — mainly archiving purposes for data that doesn’t need to be accessed regularly. But it’s clear we’re moving into a world where solid-state drives are the most prevalent form of storage. The need to collect and process big data is making that happen, providing new, unique opportunities for all kinds of organizations out there.

Tags: ,
Category: Enterprise Data Management
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