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A big shift for Big Data – from three Vs to two Ps and a T


By Tom Norton, VP of HP Big Data Services


Tom Norton.jpgIt's time for IT to move the Big Data discussion from volume, velocity and variety to people, process, and technology.


Those who have been in IT a while have witnessed a number of IT paradigm shifts: the advent of the database, the shift from batch processing to interactive OLTP, object-oriented development, the web, cloud computing and, now, big data. In each case, IT organizations—and IT professionals—who made it over the hurdle maintained their relevance by delivering the value the business expected. Those that did not usually ended up working somewhere else. Now, a number of CIOs find themselves peering over the Big Data hurdle. And it is a hurdle. To think of Big Data as just another application to fit into the mix is inviting employment, well, somewhere else.


Here’s why.


The infrastructure architecture required to succeed with big data is fundamentally different from the scale-up, virtualized infrastructure architecture that most modern data centers are built around. Virtualization separates things—processors, operating systems, storage, IO—and uses policies and automation to make them work together and achieve efficiency. But to achieve the performance required to return meaningful information from mountains of data in the time required by business users requires a different approach. Specifically:


  • The processing must be done closer to and more tightly coupled with the data itself.
  • The necessary scale must be achieved via scale out—more rather than bigger.
  • The unstructured, less controlled, often external nature of Big Data imposes new risks and creates new requirements for data protection.

This requires a new approach and some new technology. However, the requirements to make efficient use of data center resources like space, power and cooling are not relaxed. When you add to that the pressure exerted by business organizations that want results now and sometimes feel the answer is with external providers, IT again struggles to maintain relevance and deliver the value the business expects.


As we begin to move the discussion from the volume, velocity and variety of Big Data to the people, process and technology of IT, we must learn to achieve the agility, control and speed needed to clear the hurdle and create practical, sustainable Big Data applications that deliver the value the business needs.


Our Big Data consulting services team has been working hard to do just that. Working with early Big Data adopters, we have identified three specific areas where IT must focus:  


  • Big Data strategy and architecture—to create an integrated IT strategy that enables the value IT needs to remain relevant.
  • Big Data system infrastructure—to design and implement the high-performance, integrated Big Data platform required to deliver on the strategy.
  • Big Data protection—to design and implement the security, confidentiality, risk and compliance strategy along with a Big Data lifecycle policy.

We’ve structured a set of HP Technology Services Big Data Services around these areas:


  • IT Strategy and Architecture
  • System Infrastructure
  • Protection

We announced the availability of those Big Data consulting services today at HP Discover 2013 in Las Vegas (read about HAVEn, our expanded big data portfolio). So if you're at Discover, come learn about them, or register for one of our HP Discover private Big Data strategy workshops. And if you see me in the hall, let me tell you how we’re helping some of our IT customers maintain their relevance in the Big Data era.


For more about our new services read our overview: Transform IT for Big Data with HP Big Data Infrastructure Consulting (pdf download).


Check out this webcast in which HP experts explain why infrastructure readiness is key for Big Data success.


Tom Norton is a global vice president for HP Technology Services, Consulting, responsible for the HP Big Data consulting services business. Before joining HP, Tom was an IT director for United Parcel Service.

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