Over the past few years, big data has quite literally taken the world by storm. It wasn't that long ago that business leaders had a very hard time harnessing vast amounts of information and analyzing the details. Since then, however, big data has become commonplace, with administrators and stakeholders uncovering new insights about their customers, internal business processes and a whole host of other practices on a near-daily basis.
In today's corporate environment, enterprises face a new challenge: dealing with the large sums of information they have compiled in a way that makes sense for their business. Big data is only getting bigger by the day, and will continue to grow over the next few years. In fact, according to IDC researchers, a total of 1.8 zettabytes of big data was created in 2011, and another 2.8 zettabytes was created in 2012. If this path continues, companies will have approximately 40 zettabytes of big data at their fingertips by 2020.
"Companies will have approximately 40 zettabytes of big data at their fingertips by 2020."
However, if all of this information is unstructured, it can be very difficult to leverage and glean insights from. For this reason, many groups are now utilizing big data consolidation techniques to make their gathered details more manageable and usable. When a firm realizes that it's time to consolidate its big data, there are several best practices it can put in place to help streamline the process, including:
1) Migrating data away from legacy applications
One of the first steps an organization can take with its big data consolidation is to move this information away from legacy programs and ensure that it is leveragable in the applications it uses more frequently. In fact, Informatica contributor John Schmidt recommended retiring legacy apps altogether to achieve better big data consolidation.
"One of the reasons that application systems hang around for so long, even when they are not needed for day-to-day operations, is that you still need the data," Schmidt noted. "In most cases data has a much longer life than the application that created it."
For this reason, it is important to collect pertinent information from legacy programs and migrate these details to active applications before retiring the older software. In this way, big data is still actionable, and the legacy platform isn't slowing workers down.
2) Be selective about big data consolidation
Because more often than not big data earns its namesake, some decision-makers may feel the urge to consolidate all the information their company has on hand. EdTech contributor Rick Cook noted that in many cases, this is not the best approach to take. Instead, stakeholders should be selective about which details they choose to consolidate in order to ensure that productivity isn't hampered by condensed information. In these respects, administrators should be sure to consider cases when data doesn't need to be consolidated, such as when security dictates that information should be kept in separate servers, or when details are outdated and will only clutter a database.
"Some data shouldn't be consolidated because of the performance hit some applications will take from sharing hardware resources," Cook pointed out. "This includes transactional databases, which are heavy consumers of computing resources."
3) Rid active apps of inactive data
Another big data consolidation best practice involves removing inactive information, or details that are too outdated or irrelevant, from active applications. Schmidt noted that oftentimes, current programs will be storing years' worth of data that isn't utilized by users. This not only weighs down the processes of the app, but can produce inaccurate results. For this reason, it's important to remove this information and store it in a compressed environment. This way, it is still accessible if needed, but isn't slowing down active application processes that focus on more current information.
4) Consider professional services
Although many decision-makers may want to take on big data consolidation internally, it can be very beneficial to have a business partner to streamline the process. After all, big data consolidation can be quite the undertaking, and having extra help can only be advantageous for the organization and its data. When stakeholders decide to utilize the services of an expert solution provider, there is only one place to turn: iT1 Source. iT1 Source offers an all-encompassing data management service that includes an end-to-end storage solution, strategic planning, backup and disaster recovery to ensure that your firm's big data consolidation is successful.
To find out more, please be sure to contact iT1 today.