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CIOs must think cloud before they think big

Jul 30, 2013
Originally published in Inside Networks (insidenetworks.co.uk/)

Providers have long championed the benefits of the cloud as a tool for business growth and now the commercial sector is starting to recognize this, as one quarter of IT and Data Managers recently surveyed by Unisphere Research confirmed they are using public cloud services in an enterprise capacity.

However, it is not only cloud that is gaining exposure within the world of business. Big data is currently the IT buzz word, becoming the must-have for organisations on a global scale. According to IDC, the big data market is set to expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 31 per cent by 2016, with net worth hitting nearly $24 billion. Whether it is compiling and analysing customer behavior, building energy management systems, or information analysis across smart cities, big data is a force for innovation.

Before CIOs jump in at the big data deep end, it is important that a business understands how to unlock its true potential. Big data is currently driving an increased demand for storage, leading to a need to develop an effective cloud strategy first. According to IDC's Big Data Survey in the first quarter of 2013, 68.6 per cent of respondents cited performance as the primary driver for selecting storage architecture. It is important for businesses not to implement cloud as an afterthought, but to implement it as part of their IT strategy.

The cloud can be used as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources. It is ideal for supporting big data storage, rapidly crunching large volumes of unstructured data, identifying patterns and improving business strategies. The cloud eliminates large upfront IT investments, lets businesses easily scale out infrastructure, while paying for the capacity they use. This helps increase the business's scalability, performance, cost-effectiveness, reliability, and manageability of big data.

Its elasticity also means that a variety of processes can be made more effective; from enterprise high-volume external data sources that require pre-processing, to applications beyond the company's own-premises, or provisioning of large analytic sandboxes for short turnaround timescales. Cloud computing together with big data creates powerful value and insight that helps businesses innovate. This symbiotic approach to big data and the cloud is one recipe that will ensure companies can build momentum in their space and stay ahead of their competitors.

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