The Future of Big Data and Analytics Will Repeat History

Technology cycles come and go in waves, sometimes with ebb tides, sometimes neap, and every now and then we see a rare but stunning tsunami. In past cycles we’ve surfed a few famous patterns, many times over:

  • Swings between centralized or distributed computing models
  • Battles between dominant giants and myriad disruptive startups
  • Pushes between IT control against business unit demands
  • Heaves between focus on cost or on competitive advantage
  • Sweeps between cutting edge versus most proven tech

The broad market space of big data and analytics is now a perfect storm which has all of the debates above raging at once, bringing the “Humonga Cowabunga from Down Under” crashing upon the shores. How do you avoid getting washed out?

Well, the first thing to do is choose your targets. Survey the skies for new business requests and new operational threats. Set your sights on the most important clay pigeons but also the ones you can actually hit. Consider how different weapons in your arsenal, new and old, can help you pick off these big data birds most quickly and accurately.

Some questions to help you think about the best strategy for surfing the big waves while shooting the fast moving skeet:

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Oracle’s New ZS3-2 Makes Me Reconsider…..

So when I say this new Oracle product made me reconsider, I don’t mean about the new Oracle storage system per se. The ZS range (ZFS as was) has been a very capable and improving storage system for a long while now. Sure, it had promise and interest when its basics were laid down at Sun, but under the Oracle TLC, that promise and interest has morphed to prowess and investment. But back to my reconsiderations; the fact is we all tend to labor under certain assumptions that we build up – often with increasing certainty, and sometimes in spite of the facts! – as we progress through life. I’d love to tell you I’m immune, but that would put me in a minority of one…

I’ll also bet that more than a couple of you reading this will also roll your eyes, lean back in your chair and whisper an exhaled “wow…I didn’t realize that” as you glance through my reconsiderations, because you were sharing some of the same perceptions about Oracle storage. So, here goes:

  • Sure, we’re willing to believe Oracle does decent enough storage, but it’s probably just good enough to be dragged along by, and support, the database software. Yes? Well, no. Next time you’re checking out SPC-2 benchmarks, take a look at the ZS3-2. Remember that this is the baby system in the ZS range (although it can reach 1.5PB and has up to a pretty nifty 1TB of DRAM and 16 TB of flash) but it beats some rather well known competitors by a mile. And don’t forget that SPC-2 is the price performance benchmark (not just a top speed measurement), so we’re not talking silly money to get the job done well.
  • Yeah, but Oracle – big and successful as it is – is like a black-hole death star, sucking users into its vendor lock-in grip. Err, well, turns out that the ZS3-2 offers extensive RESTful management APIs and – get this – not only plays nice in the Technicolor 3D All You Can Eat BOGO OpenStack Cinder world, but Oracle is actively contributing code to Cinder to boot (maybe some of those old Sun genes made it through after all!?)
  • Well, OK, but looking slightly broader than storage, Oracle has always stood alone as a world unto itself hasn’t it; great if you like it, but often swimming against the tide? One word – convergence. Or aggregation (OK, that’s a second word). The point is that many vendors are aggressiveley talking these two words but actually walking them via multiple components that could actually and defensibly be viewed – beneath the marketing veneer and system-level re-integration- as increasingly disaggregated! Oracle has arguably and defensibly one of the best convergence stories out there! Wherever the tide is headed, Oracle is certainly on a good wave.
Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

The Missing Third Level of Big Data Marketing

In my role as big data analyst, I get to hear a lot of vendors' pitches. As someone who spent a lot of years in technology sales and marketing before becoming an industry analyst, this is usually both informative and entertaining, both for the content presented and sometimes for what isn’t being said.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Teradata Takes the Turf for Big Data and Analytics

It’s hard to picture the sport of big data and analytics without Teradata in the tournament. Depending on your loyalties, Teradata might be a favorite or you may be wishing for a new star to emerge. Either way, Teradata has long been a leader in traditional integrated data warehousing and data mart solutions, offering a wide range of platforms and tools for analytics and reporting.

Now the company is modernizing its portfolio with a much greater emphasis on big data and analytics and an inclusive approach to newer offerings such as Hadoop. The flexible range of multi-functional appliances will appeal to Teradata’s current enterprise customers who need to blend different data types for advanced analytics, although more must be done to show the broader market the value of appliances over commodity hardware and open source software.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

End-users must be Part of Cybersecurity Solutions

As the old infosec adage goes, “people are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain.” Clearly enterprise security professionals agree with this statement. In a recent ESG research survey, enterprise security professionals were asked to identify the factors most responsible for successful malware attacks. It turns out that 58% point to a lack of user knowledge about cybersecurity risks – the most popular answer by far.

This data is not unusual, security professionals often bemoan end-user cybersecurity behavior. They don’t pay attention in training classes, they click on suspect links, they are easily fooled by social engineering tactics, etc.

Topics: Cybersecurity Enterprise Mobility

Endpoint Security Demands Organizational Changes

Pity endpoint security software. Venerable antivirus have gotten a bad reputation for being an ineffective commodity product. This situation is illustrated by some recently published ESG research (Source: ESG Research Report, Advanced Malware Detection and Protection Trends, September 2013 ). Security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) were given a series of statements and asked whether they agreed or disagreed with each. The research revealed that:

Topics: Cybersecurity Enterprise Mobility

Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS): Desktops Delivered from the Cloud

ESG has been monitoring the interest in cloud desktops, commonly referred to as DaaS (desktop-as-a-service), for the last few years and continues to see solid interest in the delivery model. Indeed, previously conducted ESG research revealed that nearly a quarter of potential adopters of desktop virtualization technology in general identified DaaS as a delivery model that they were currently evaluating or at least considering.

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration

HDS and The Internet of Things

I recently attended HDS Analyst Day, which was held in Colorado Springs at the very lovely Broadmoor hotel. Colorado is very high, literally and figuratively. I took a train up Pikes Peak and got my first ever case of altitude sickness (felt like I was on a boat when I came back down). Fret not, I was fine. And no, I didn't go to a dispensary (although I totally would have, time permitting).

Topics: Storage Internet of Things IT Infrastructure

The Two Cornerstones of Next-generation Cybersecurity (Part 2)

In my last blog, I described a new next-generation cybersecurity mindset to address the lack of control associated with “shadow IT.” As IT loses control of some of its traditional assets, my suggestion to CISOs is to double-down on security controls and oversight for the things they still own. In my humble opinion, there are two key areas to focus on: Sensitive data and identity. Everything else – applications, endpoints, networks, and servers – must kowtow to these two cornerstones and enforce specific data security and identity policies.

In Part 1 of my blog, I described how data security must become smarter about the sensitivity of the content and where it resides across enterprise and 3rd party networks. Aside from deeper data intelligence, however, we also need much deeper identity intelligence than the basic user name, password, and role descriptions we have today. This makes identity the other cornerstone of next-generation cybersecurity.

Topics: Cybersecurity

NetApp Stakes Its Claims (with video)

NetApp recently held its annual Analyst Summit. As one might expect from a company constantly ranked as a good place to work, there was plenty of open-ness and a frank appraisal of where stumbles had occurred in recent years – the combination of delays in getting to clustered ONTAP, a massive government IT spending squeeze (significant for NetApp as it does a huge amount of government work), and the recent general softening of the overall storage industry had hardly been conducive to great times for this industry icon of ‘up and to the right.' CEO Tom Georgens summarized it simply by pointing out that there has to come a time when you simply “shut up and fix it." Well, apparently that work is essentially done, and so the Analyst Summit was in many respects a coming-out party. How did NetApp do? There’s some more written commentary below, but first here’s a 6 minute overview video with insights from my colleagues Terri McClure, Kevin Rhone, and Mark Bowker as well as me, and also discussions of the key takeaways that senior NetApp Executives (Tom Georgens, George Kurian, and Jullie Parrish) wanted to implant in the heads of the attendees and thence users and prospects.

Topics: Storage Cloud Services & Orchestration

Data Protection Impressions from the Dell Analyst Conference 2014

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Dell Annual Analyst Conference (DAAC), where Michael Dell and the senior leadership team gave updates on their businesses and cast a very clear strategy around four core pillars:

Topics: Data Protection

The Two Cornerstones of Next-Generation Cybersecurity (Part 1)

Every CISO I speak with tells a story fraught with common anxiety about the future of information security. As the world becomes more mobile, consumer-centric, and cloud-based, IT gets more distributed and complex while the IT department has less and less control. This presents a real conundrum for security professionals who’ve been trained to seize control and lock down as much as they can.

So what should CISOs do to address the “shadow IT” dilemma? As IT loses control of some of its traditional assets, my suggestion to CISOs is to double-down on security controls and oversight for the things they still own. In my humble opinion, there are two key areas to focus on: Sensitive data and identity. Everything else – applications, endpoints, networks, and servers – must kowtow to these two cornerstones and enforce specific data security and identity policies.

Topics: Cybersecurity Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Oracle Strikes Back

IT is a global game of king of the mountain. The view is lovely from the top, but everyone else is looking to pull you down with new innovations in products, better services, and disruptive go-to-market strategies. Oracle has long held the crown for databases and a number of related business applications, yet is surely feeling some pressure from the ravenous hordes below. Two popular angles of attack have been in-memory and/or NoSQL databases. The goal of players such as Amazon (with DynamoDB), Apache Cassandra, MemSQL, MarkLogic, MongoDB, NuoDB, and many others has been to differentiate on the capabilities of their newer platforms to hopefully displace, or more likely find a niche alongside, the popular Oracle database. Even other industry titans like IBM (with DB2 BLU Acceleration) and Microsoft (with SQL Server 2014) have brought in-memory options to market with great fanfare.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Big Data Security Analytics Can Become the Nexus of Information Security Integration

In a recent ESG research survey, security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees) were asked the following question: How do you believe that your organization will change its security technology strategy decisions in any of the following ways over the next 24 months in order to improve its security management? In response:

Topics: Cybersecurity Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

Wrap-Up on Backup from EMC World 2014 -- Part II, Strategy

Last week, I published wrap-up-on-backup-from-emc-world-2014/index.html" target="_blank" title="Wrap-up on Backup -- part one">a video summary of the data protection product news from EMC World 2014, with the help of some of my EMC Data Protection friends. To follow that up, I asked EMC's Rob Emsley to knit the pieces together around the Data Protection strategy from EMC:

Topics: Data Protection

Wrap-Up on Backup from EMC World 2014 -- Part I, Products

During EMC World 2014 in Las Vegas last month, I had the chance to visit with several EMC product managers on what was announced from a product perspective, as well as overall data protection strategy. Enjoy the video:

Topics: Data Protection

Advanced Prevention (Nothing New, Just Better)

There has always been a dichotomy between incident prevention and incident detection/response. Prevention centers around a potpourri of security controls designed to block bad things from happening. Firewall rules, IDS/IPS, and endpoint AV software fit in this category. Alternatively, CISOs must prepare for the worst and assume that cyber adversaries will circumvent their castles, gates, and moats. This means that large organizations also need processes and tools to detect and respond to anomalous/suspicious activities.

Topics: Cybersecurity

Ascent to the Hadoop Summit

This week San Jose was home to the Hadoop Summit, which boasted 3,000 live attendees, 88 sponsoring companies, and many, many streaming viewers around the world. It was a microcosm of the big data industry and the overall energy, breadth of solutions, and new announcements reflected the momentum of a very disruptive, competitive, and exciting area of IT.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI

EMC Has Plenty of Storage Aspiration Left! (with video)

Last month (my how time flies!) saw EMC’s annual EMC World event. You may already have seen ESG’s broad-brush video blog that tried to cover some of the key general themes – if not, you can get it atemc-world-2014-initial-esg-analyst-impressions-video/index.html" target="_blank"> this link. The purpose of this follow up blog is to get a little more into the nitty-gritty of the storage specific takeaways from Vegas. Along with my written commentary that follows below, here is another video, as I was able to persuade Barry Ader and Jonathan Siegal to stare into my camcorder from their soapboxes for a few minutes!

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure

Managing Diverse IT Environments with NetApp OnCommand Insight 7

I’m a huge proponent of HTML 5 – it’s sleek, responsive, and meant for the modern, mobile world. It’s not surprising that more and more consumer-based websites have made the transition, especially with the explosion in mobile device usage in the recent years. The one area where I would love to see more adoption though is in IT, specifically around infrastructure management.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI Cloud Services & Orchestration

Enterprise Security Monitoring Weaknesses Telegraph Lots of Future Cybersecurity Opportunities

In a recent ESG research survey of 257 security professionals working at enterprise organizations (i.e., more than 1,000 employees), respondents were asked to identify where their organizations were weakest with regard to security monitoring. This graphic displays the results:

Topics: Cybersecurity

Dell Addresses the Midmarket for Big Data Analytics

"Keep Austin Weird" proclaimed Dell at their big analyst event last week, setting the tone for what was to be a rather impressive event. From a humvee with hardened hardware to hors d'oeuvres at Seersucker, there was clearly a vibe proclaiming, "We're back, and we'll do what we do best." Which turns out to be rather a lot of different things. After being ribbed for bringing a MacBook Air to the rodeo, I decided to head for my comfort zone: big data and analytics.

Topics: Data Platforms, Analytics, & AI