Randy is an ITIL certified IT Manager and Technical Professional with more than 20 years' experience in Information Technology.
What Is Big Data?
Companies have stored data since the beginnings of digital computing. Data warehousing and analysis have a long history, and certainly are not new concepts. So what is big data and what makes it different from other data?
Big data includes information covering all aspects of our digital lives in minute detail - information about people's demographics, what sites they visit on the internet, what ads they click on, social media usage, email and so on. It can cover individuals, groups, businesses and entire industries. Big data can truly include any digital information that exists, and the applications of big data are as varied as the data itself.
This data can take many forms, and the connections between pieces of data may not be clear-cut. All of the information is constantly processed, analyzed and accessed in many ways, and the data is always changing and growing. Robust technology is needed to store and manage this constantly evolving data.
Big Data Storage Requirements
There are several important characteristics of big data that can influence storage needs.
- Scalability: The storage system may need to be upgraded to accommodate more data in the future.
- Availability: Data may need to be accessed quickly and frequently, often in real-time.
- Protection: Data security is an essential aspect of any storage solution.
- Integration: Big data storage solutions may need to communicate with older applications or other storage technologies.
These requirements lead to big data storage solutions that offer varying degrees of high data capacity, high performance, enhanced data security and integration capabilities. A business should have a clear understanding of their specific needs before choosing a storage solution.
Big Data Storage Options
There are many options for big data storage, and selecting a solution will depend on the specific needs and budgets of each business. Generally speaking, businesses have the option of owning and maintaining their own equipment, or choosing a service offered by a vendor to meet their storage needs. No matter which option a business chooses to pursue, the underlying storage infrastructure will likely make use one of the following storage technologies.
- NAS (Network Attached Storage): NAS is probably the most common big data storage solution. NAS solutions provide data storage capabilities on a network; they're essentially servers that function only to store data. They are highly scalable and provide the level of performance needed to store and use big data.
- Object storage: In object storage, the traditional folder-and-file organization used by most storage systems is replaced by a structure that assigns a unique ID to each piece of data. This is often referred to as a flat data structure, because all files can be stored in one main folder without any subfolders. Data can be retrieved quickly by systems without needing to know where the data is physically stored.
- Hyperscale storage: This form of storage utilizes enormous volumes of physical storage media, has minimal features and may not have as much redundancy as other options. Its main purpose is to provide as much storage space as possible, while keeping costs to a minimum. As big data volumes continue to grow, hyperscale technologies are gaining in popularity.
Big data contains huge amounts of information covering all aspects of our digital lives. Making use of big data requires that storage systems offer scalability, availability, security and integration capabilities. Big data storage solutions include Network Attached Storage (NAS), object storage and hyperscale storage.
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