Hadoop is 'super sexy' - Lenovo

By Danny Palmer
25 Oct 2013 View Comments
anthony-volpe

There's a "sexy" perception around Hadoop that leads many to believe it's the solution to solving big data problems even if that's not necessarily the case, Lenovo chief corporate analytics officer, Anthony Volpe, has told Computing.

Speaking at the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series 2013 conference, he'd already described Hadoop as "super sexy" during an earlier panel discussion. When queried as to why Hadoop is "sexy", Volpe suggested it was because of the way it has been promoted by much of the industry and media.

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"With Hadoop being born in a big data environment obviously everyone thinks it's the answer to their own big data problems. Our definition of big data is certainly different than that of the markets, the popular press or the consulting agencies," he said.

"As a result we're [the industry] often misled into thinking that large data, even if it's structured, is big data and therefore we rush to put it into Hadoop because that's what we read we're supposed to do," Volpe continued, explaining that while traditional databases might be more suitable for many organisations, Lenovo has embraced Hadoop.

"Ultimately we will bring these true big data sources and unstructured feedback right alongside our more structured databases. Hadoop represents our most likely way to manage all our data. Without that I'm not sure frankly how we'd do it," he said.

However, Volpe went on to suggest that many organisations might not have the necessary knowledge to properly understand what to do with Hadoop and big data.

"I don't think many people know what to do. It's easy to read all these great articles that are convincing us that it holds great promise," he said. "I don't disagree that it does hold great promise and we plan at Lenovo to use it to become a consumer-driven business. But it's an evolution, a learning, a journey."

Volpe described how Lenovo is taking a slow but steady approach to exploiting big data, one that  he believes will set out firm foundations for solving the wider issues surrounding the use of big data.

"I don't think that one day we're going to sit in a room and come up with ‘the answer' to big data, it'll evolve over time. What we're trying to do at Lenovo is we'll build the answer out one brick at a time, meaning we'll approach one problem that requires big data and solve that," he said.

"Then we'll go on to the next one and the third and the fourth and we'll hope to look back having solved four or five and say 'first we've learned a lot and second, we've already put down a great foundation to solving the broad problem around big data'," Volpe added.

Speaking on a panel during the event, Volpe argued that big data and analytics will help transform Lenovo from being an enterprise-focused business manufacturer to one with such an understanding of consumers that it will be able to compete against Apple and Samsung.

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