Big data analytics ‘needs segmentation’ says Hitachi CTO

By Peter Gothard
22 May 2012 View Comments
Francois Zimmerman is UK CTO for Hitachi Data Systems

The future of big data lies not in in-house data crunching, but in outsourcing and off-the-shelf data analysis solutions, CTO of Hitachi Data Systems UK Francois Zimmermann has told Computing.

Zimmermann's comments came in response to Computing's recent coverage of the big data debate, in which Computacenter said that big data "hasn't happened yet", and that a lot of stored analytics data is irrelevant.

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"I agree that the machine-generated data explosion has not really happened," said Zimmermann. "But I think what's happened in the marketplace is that people have looked at this category of ‘big data' and just treated it as a machine-generated data problem.

"So I think what the market's doing is looking at some real, specific business use cases and saying it doesn't matter if it's user-generated, or social media, or machine-generated data; they've got a few values that they want to get out of that sort of analytics."

Zimmermann compared the growing big data industry to the so-called "cloud washing" phenomenon in the nascent cloud computing industry, when vendors were often accused of repackaging older products and services with a "cloud" spin in order to keep making sales.

"I don't see why this field should be any different to all the other best practice we've got," said Zimmermann.

"We've generally seen a move to more and more off-the-shelf solutions, moving away from bespoke. For a while, when we heard people speaking about 'big data', they were actually talking about buying naked Hadoop deployment for their enterprise and doing all the coding themselves. It seems a bit regressive now."

Zimmermann said that companies who count big data as part of their business, such as Yahoo, can afford to be developers and to write their own usage cases. But for others with operational and developer expenses such practice is "not very sustainable".

"For the companies where the only aim is business gain rather than owning the technology, I'd have thought they'd go down the packaged route. Companies will start to outsource it," said Zimmermann.

"Really successful stuff has happened in big data when we've been doing business with the vertical data specifically," he added. "Focusing from a vertical perspective down – rather than coming to it as a pure IT vendor up – is the way things are going to move. Analytics needs segmentation."

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