Six disruptive possibilities from big data

Specific ways big data will inundate vendors and customers.

Disruptive PossibilitiesMy new book, Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything, is derived directly from my experience as a performance and platform architect in the old enterprise world and the new, Internet-scale world.

I pre-date the Hadoop crew at Yahoo!, but I intimately understood the grid engineering that made Hadoop possible. For years, the working title of this book was The Art and Craft of Platform Engineering, and when I started working on Hadoop after a stint in the Red Hat kernel group, many of the ideas that were jammed into my head, going back to my experience with early supercomputers, all seem to make perfect sense for Hadoop. This is why I frequently refer to big data as “commercial supercomputing.”

In Disruptive Possibilities, I discuss the implications of the big data ecosystem over the next few years. These implications will inundate vendors and customers in a number of ways, including:

  1. The disruption to the silo mentality, both in IT organizations and the industry that serves them, will be the big story of big data.
  2. The IT industry will be battered by the new technology of big data because many of the products that pre-date Hadoop are laughably unaffordable at scale. Big data hardware and software is hundreds of times faster than existing enterprise-scale products and often thousands of times cheaper.
  3. Technology as new and disruptive as big data is often resisted by IT organizations because their corporate mandate requires them to obsess about minimizing OPEX and not tolerate innovation, forcing IT to be the big bad wolf of big data.
  4. IT organizations will be affected by the generation that replaces those who invested their careers in Oracle, Microsoft, and EMC. The old adage “no one ever gets fired for buying (historically) IBM” only applies to mature, established technology, not to immature and disruptive technology. Big data is the most disruptive force this industry has seen since the introduction of the relational database.
  5. Big data requires data scientists and programmers to develop a better understanding of how the data flows underneath them, including an introduction (or reintroduction) to the computing platform that makes it possible. This may be outside of their comfort zones if they are similarly entrenched within silos. Professionals willing to learn new ways of collaborating, working, and thinking will prosper. That prosperity will be as much about highly efficient and small teams of people as it is about highly efficient and large groups of servers.
  6. Civil liberties and privacy will be compromised as technology improvements make it affordable for any organization (private, public or clandestine) to analyze the patterns of data and behavior of anyone who uses a mobile phone.

Much more is covered in Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything. Download it for free here.

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