Cloud computing is the way of the future, and it’s making it easier for smaller companies to join the revolution of incorporating big data into how they function. Cloud computing has become financially accessible while retaining a maximum return on investment in the data realm.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing uses “the Cloud” to store and manage your data—so it isn’t on a local server or individual computer. “The Cloud” is a network of servers all over the world that provides external secure data collection and allows you to access your files from anywhere. Using cloud computing gives you superior storage capacity so you can expand the data you collect. It also provides a much safer backup solution and recovery system in the event of a disaster and loss of data. This alone explains its excellent ROI.
Why Should My Company Be Using Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing options have never been less expensive than they are now, so even small companies have an opportunity to buy into this revolution in data storage. Business Intelligence (BI) refers to how you turn your raw data into something useful. One of the best examples right now is BI on Hadoop, as Hadoop has come to be synonymous with BI in many people’s minds. Smaller companies have long wrestled with this issue, collecting data and not being able to make sense out of all of it or having to purge data because of storage capacity. This leads to loss of data that might have been useful with the right BI tools. Cloud computing removes the need to purge data for space. The newest BI helps you to manage the increasing amounts of data you can now collect and turn it into data you can get the most out of. This means you can save everything from your data collection, even if you aren’t sure exactly how it is useful right now.
Hadoop uses batch-oriented processing, storing transactional data and taking BI to the next level. Though Hadoop is still evolving to meet increasing demands for “big data,” it is at present one of the best options out there. As it rapidly evolves to develop better services, you can expect it to remain relevant and prepared to meet the evolving growth of data in your company. Hadoop scales up from one server to thousands easily while retaining data integrity. One of its greatest strengths is its programming, by which it catches data failures and fixes them early. The storage aspect is the lowest level of Hadoop use, and its strength is in how it makes your BI accessible, clean, and secure. It is also becoming the most scalable yet economically feasible options. If you want to watch your company grow and harness big data in the most efficient way, Hadoop is an investment in the future.
NoSQL servers are another popular option because the queries are simpler. But it is also evolving, and developers are working to address some of its weaknesses. It is becoming more common to actually use NoSQL and Hadoop simultaneously for their individual strengths. One of the issues is that the coding for both is unique and requires sophistication. One of the investments necessary to properly harness the use of BI on any platform will be a quality IT staff that is familiar with existing frameworks and excited about ongoing changes and improvements.
There are numerous other tools for big data management and making the most of your BI, but none have continued to improve as fast as Hadoop and NoSQL or shown the same level of ROI.
It is always scary for companies to make a big investment knowing that software and the BI landscape are constantly changing. For smaller companies, it can be especially difficult to make a decision, but indecision isn’t moving forward and leads to being left behind. Software is now being developed based on the assumption of cloud use, so keeping up with the best software may require cloud adoption. Early adoption of BI has proven to be a useful strategy, and today’s options are better situated to help you grow your business as the tools improve. Data is only going to increase, and harnessing it to your advantage means being prepared.
The security issue is also significant and should not be underestimated. Disaster preparedness plans in companies must include how data will be secured. Cloud computing ensures that your data is safe in the event of any office disaster. Not only is it safe, but it is accessible if you have to set up a makeshift business site or for staff that needs to work from home.
Cloud computing options continue to improve, but getting on the cloud is the first step toward growing your business.
Featured photo credit: George Thomas via flickr.com