While attending Cloudera's recent analyst day in San Francisco, I was pleased to hear one message made loud, clear, and consistently: It is time to talk about big data in the context of business value. Big data and its analysis is one of the most important (and interesting!) developments in the information management market; however, until quite recently, it has been locked in debates about technology and technical details. For big data to realize its potential, the conversation must move to real-world business applications and the return on investment these offer enterprises.
Big data: enterprise-ready
Cloudera is one of the most recognizable names in the world of big data, recognized both as a market leader from a technology perspective and as an organization that makes news, not least because of Intel's 2014 $740m investment in and partnership with the business. Big data is undoubtedly moving toward becoming big business, and CEO Tom Reilly's comment that the time has come to get "…big value out of big data projects" was directly in line with Ovum's expectation that 2015 is the year that big data will be formalized as an enterprise tool.
This theme was interweaved into every presentation at the event and was best evidenced by Cloudera's sharing of future industry / solution focuses (which unfortunately, due to NDA, I can't share here). However, these were an encouraging view of the future, and are an approach Ovum strongly endorses as a means to put a business face on what is still poorly understood technology, at least among line-of-business stakeholders. That is important, because those LoB users increasingly sign the checks for investments in big data capabilities – among other data and analytical solutions.
A final word must go to an area of great import to enterprise IT, but one that suffers from a perception issue among the big data vendors: security. Cloudera pointed out that its first joint project as part of the Intel partnership was encryption on silicon (thereby limiting the processing hit to achieve it). That is only one part of the puzzle: Cloudera has a Center for Security Excellence and product (or projects) that cover a significant range of enterprise-standard security requirements. From Kerberos support, through encryption, the (incubating) Sentry project for access control, and Cloudera Navigator for data governance, the message is clear that big data is ready for the requirements of big enterprise IT.
Tom Pringle, Practice Leader, IT – Information Management