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FCW : December 2012
percent over the next two years with more than one-quarter of our foreseen projects relying on data sets in excess of 1 petabyte, he said, putting extreme stress on network infrastructures. Second, IT managers worry about their agency s ability to handle the variety of data it receives. Traditional data ware- houses and analytics were created to handle structured data, which is stored and indexed in traditional database formats. Big data comes from semi-structured data, such as Extensible Markup Language and RSS feeds, and unstructured data, such as voice, video and print or real-time feeds. "Many observers feel that it s these real- time data flows which constitute the third V, velocity," McLeod-Warrick said. "This is where the real value in big data will reside." Challenges of Big Data It s also where agencies concerns lie, Pearson said: types of data sourcing, storage and analysis. the integration of siloed information. remains beyond traditional IT capabilities. deliver data in batches, not to provide a con- tinuous flow for real-time decision-making. Agencies involved in or investigating big data are looking to hire people with experi- ence in business in addition to statistics, computer science and machine learning. And they are focusing spending on building a network architecture that can handle high- speed data capture, including increased network bandwidth, server hardware, data warehousing and cloud storage. Then there s the issue of sorting the data into meaningful patterns, McLeod-Warrick added. "Statistical tools are fine for starters, but the true promise of big data won t nec- essarily come from standardized toolsets." Instead, he said, agencies are turning to advanced data visualization, which NASA has used to demonstrate the consequences of drought on groundwater levels. Text mining and sentiment analysis tools help make sense of social media and blog posts, while complex event processing would combine data from multiple sources to infer patterns to identify things like secu- rity threats. Lastly, Hadoop, open-source software developed to analyze structured and unstructured big data sets, is gaining momentum in the private sector at compa- nies such as Google and Facebook, but also at government agencies. Brocade's Big Data Solutions "It s my view, and Brocade s view, that the network is at the core of big data, basi- cally at the intersection," Pearson said. "Networks are crucial to process, transport, analyze and manage big data." Moreover, the network must be able to scale incrementally, making Ethernet fabric the foundation of choice for handling big data, Pearson said. To that end, Brocade is working with partners such as IBM, Hadoop and Zettaset to provide several package solutions: exploring big data, involving servers, fabric adapters, Ethernet fabric TOR switches and fabric aggregation chassis switches. motion, involving telemetry with a 10 gigabyte chassis switch. It takes Brocade s chassis MLX switches and loads IBM telemetry streams and uses a smart switch to grab data-in-motion, whether voice or Internet. networks are located inside the cluster as a management or a compute network. data-in-motion and data-at-rest, involving Hadoop, telemetry InfoSphere streams and the IBM intelligent cluster. Big data is here to stay, so finding ways to synthesize it is crucial and not impos- sible despite the challenges. "Big data has grown beyond the hype stage. It s seen as vital to many federal, state and local agencies," McLeod-Warrick said. "Investment in more agile, flexible networking architectures as well as more robust analytic tools can help bring the promise of big data to fruition." SPONSORED BY: For more from Brocade, go to www.brocade.com SPONSORED CONTENT "Big data has grown beyond the hype stage. It's seen as vital to many federal, state and local agencies." --- James McLeod-Warrick, managing partner at Beacon Technology Partners INVESTIGATING - 44% JUST STARTING - 35% FULLY IMPLEMENTED - 21% IMPLEMENTATION STATUS
November 30, 2012