Big Data in the Cloud

Calgary Cloud Services

If the terms “big data” and “the cloud” are new to you, this article can help you understand them in the easiest way possible. This article, titled Calgary Cloud Services, gives you the basic ideas about big data and the cloud and tells you, in short, exactly why you should move your IT infrastructure to the cloud. Many Calgary business owners are becoming aware of the benefit of Cloud-based I.T. solutions and we are here to help.
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What is big data?

Big data refers to a huge amount of data that is analyzed to get insights. The insights found from this analysis help an organization grow. The size of big data is so huge that it is expressed in petabytes and exabytes.

The three main characteristics of big data are volume, velocity, and variety. Volume is the amount or size of the data. Volume determines whether the data can be called big data or not. Velocity refers to the speed of data processing, and variety means different types of data.

Other characteristics of big data are variability, veracity, and complexity.

The technologies that are associated with big data are the Internet, databases, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and so on.

One of the most popular big data platforms is Hadoop that makes it extremely easy to work with big data. To learn more about Hadoop, read this article. The official website of Hadoop can give you more information about Hadoop.

Was there ever Small Data?

According to a Wikipedia article, the data that we generally deal with can be called small data. This article also says that small data has to be so small that it becomes easy for humans to comprehend.

“Small data is a data-set that contains very specific attributes. Small data is used to determine current states and conditions or may be generated by analyzing larger data sets.”, says Mike Kavis, contributor of a Forbes article published on 25th Feb, 2015.


What does Big Data do?

Big data helps you grow your business. First of all, you have to collect and store big data coming from different sources. For example, you may store the data about the visitors on your website. When you analyze the big data, you get the insights and reports that show your customers’ activity on your website. Real-time results can also be achieved. You can provide better services to your customers because you can learn more about your customers by analyzing the data about your customers. Thus, big data helps you grow your business.

But keep in mind that business is not the only field where big data is helpful. Other major applications of big data are found in manufacturing, education, healthcare, media, government operations and science.

Most smaller companies in Calgary have little use for Big Data. Your accountant may crunch some numbers in Excel but that is not the big data we are talking about. Larger Calgary companies do use Big Data and have commissioned Watson and other services. The problem we have been told, anecdotally, is that some managers may not understand exactly what they are after processing big data.


Is Watson Big Data?

Watson is not big data. Rather, it is a tool from IBM that gives you helpful insights after analyzing your big data. Watson implements machine learning and natural language processing to generate insights.­­­

The specialty of Watson is that it creates awesome insights, reports, answers and patterns by analyzing your unstructured data in a smart way.

It captures data from web pages, PDF files, and other documents to generate the most reliable answers.

To learn more about Watson, read this article.


Does big data happen on the cloud?

Storing and managing big data on the cloud is on the rise. It is more convenient to manage big data on the cloud because the cloud computing infrastructure gives you more power, control, and flexibility than your local computing infrastructure. Big data on the cloud is a great option for your business.


What is the cloud?

The cloud or cloud computing is the modern approach to computing that allows you to use computing resources such as computer programs, data storage, networks, services etc. using the Internet. Cloud computing is a paid service that gives you everything that you get from your local computing infrastructure.

“Cloud computing is computing based on the Internet. Where in the past, people would run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server in their building, cloud computing allows people access to the same kinds of applications through the internet.” – says an article about why you should move to the cloud, published on 17th Nov, 2015.

There are mainly three service models of the cloud: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides you with servers, storage, network, virtual machines, etc. Platform as a service (PaaS) provides you with databases, web server, development tools, etc. And software as a service (SaaS) provides you with useful apps, e-mail, virtual desktop, games, etc.

To access the cloud, you have to use some cloud clients. Examples of cloud clients include web browsers, terminals, mobile apps, etc.

The main types of cloud options are the private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. Other types are distributed cloud, community cloud, intercloud, and multicloud.

The private cloud serves only a single organization whereas a public cloud is built for everyone. And a hybrid cloud is made up of multiple clouds.


Isn’t the Internet the cloud? Why the new name ‘the cloud?’

Yes, the Internet is the cloud. But the new name tells us that the cloud is especially used as a replacement for traditional computing for business whereas the Internet is a broad term. The Internet is a big ocean that contains the cloud and a number of other things.


Should a manager consider moving I.T. infrastructure to the cloud and save money on in-house server management?

Cloud computing gives you more facilities than your local computing infrastructure. If you choose cloud computing over in-house server management, you will be able to focus on business instead of wasting your time and energy on infrastructure management. The main benefits are low cost, no upfront cost, flexibility, high-performance, disaster recovery, availability, scalability, easy management, effortless maintenance, more reliability, more security, improved collaboration and productivity, and so on.

This article may make big data and cloud computing sound like the savior for your business; it is not guaranteed. There are still scale issues; for example, a three-person office somewhere in Calgary might be better served setting up a 4GB NAS drive (shared and available across the Internet) as a $500 solution versus the higher I.T. labour costs to set up a cloud platform. Even Google Apps and Google Drive might be the best solution for your business. Money still has to be spent on evaluating what the best option is for your business. Have you decided yet to move to the cloud? Contact us anytime you would like more information on this topic.