May3

Cloud Computing: The Solution for Big Datasets?

DataWith the population of the world just under seven billion, the number of Facebook users are up at around 150 million and the number of estimated status updates every day at around 55 million, big numbers and big datasets are everywhere around us. In the twenty-first century as we move towards a knowledge based economy, the ability to exploit the sort of data that’s floating around there is key to business success and key to research institutions.

However, tracking, for example, the million Facebook updates a week by your followers is a job that’s just too big for any staff member to do and it’s rapidly becoming a problem for even the quickest of consumer computers.

In the first place, typical business servers will struggle to hold the sort of datasets that market researchers use on a daily basis. Even though each entry uses only a tiny amount of data and takes up a minute amount of disk-space, once these are multiplied and aggregated over months and years the space requirements for performing this sort of data analysis start to get unsustainable.

For businesses operating out of the capital, the equation starts to be about how much office space you can afford to lose to set up your own server racks. For many, the obvious equation is to exploit the possibilities of cloud hosting and to look for storage elsewhere.

On the other side of the coin, it’s not just about storing the data, it’s about making it useable and manageable so that the results can be properly analysed and become useful business assets. For many companies this is a problem, but it happens extremely frequently in research-based environments.

Dealing, for example, with economic data usually requires not just enormous data sets, but specialist software that all needs to be run from the same machine. Very frequently this causes difficulties such as lag and system crashes which, often, can cause the loss of extremely important data.

Hosting your datasets via a cloud means not only that you have access to them as and when you need it, but it allows your in-house computers to run and function as they normally would. Checking your email first thing in the morning shouldn’t be a hassle, so why let the data you’re using this afternoon get in the way?

For big datasets, it’s increasingly looking like the cloud is the way forward and allowing specialist data management professionals to deal with your requirements can take out the risk and the hassle of managing your data yourself.

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