Big Data: Integration Challenges

Instructor: David Gloag
The amount of information businesses consume is staggering, and it's increasing. In this lesson, we'll take a look at big data, big data integration, and the challenges specific to it.

Data Consumption

Let's face it, we consume information, a lot of it. We ponder the weather with our morning meal, we collect financial information to complete our taxes, and we are entertained by the digital information in the latest blockbuster movie. It's a wonder we don't get fat. So it won't be surprising that the issue is even more pronounced when you consider it from a business perspective. So how do they cope? How do they stay on top of the ever-increasing glut? Some just simply ignore it, hoping it will go away. Not particularly effective, or efficient. The rest are taking steps to address the problem. Their area of focus, big data.

What is Big Data?

Simply put, big data is a large information set, and the technologies used to manipulate and maintain it. When we say large, we mean big enough to cause present-day systems grief. In today's vernacular, this equates to applications like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and PostgreSQL (or their competitors). Even with today's powerful machines, the sheer volume of information brings these applications to their knees. And the boundaries are moving, as information keeps pouring in. What is exceptional today, will be commonplace tomorrow. Big data represents a monumental shift in the way we think about information.

What is Data Integration?

Data integration is the process of merging new or incoming data with existing data. Think about your last purchase of music for your cell phone. The selection is made, and your choice is downloaded. The music consists of digital information that is merged, or integrated, with the other songs on your phone. Most of the operation is transparent, and handled behind the scenes. But it is no small feat when talking about big data, as we'll see in the next section.

What are the Big Data Integration Challenges?

The challenges for big data integration are numerous. Most have to do with the architecture or structure adopted for the big data system. But there are a couple that are fundamental, and common, to all. They are:

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