As big data projects slam network performance, network managers must be ready for the challenges they bring.
THERE’S NO DOUBT THAT BIG DATA IS A BIG DEAL TO COMPANIES TODAY
The benefits of big data include greater insight into customer sentiment, improved employee productivity, smoother operations and processes, and better decision making. And it’s not just talk; a growing number of companies are taking action to implement big data projects. According to a recent survey by IDG, 49 percent of the 751 respondents say they are implementing or are likely to implement big data projects in the future, with 12 percent reporting that they have already implemented such projects.
As big data projects move from the planning to implementation stage, however, many companies are learning that they aren’t prepared for all of the changes that these projects bring. Big data by definition involves very large quantities of unstructured data in various formats that often change in real time. Because big data encompasses so much information in so many formats that must be pulled together for analysis, it has significant impact on enterprise networks and IT infrastructures. These range from resources and equipment to deployment and management. In addition, big data projects tend to be initiated high up in a company’s hierarchy. As a result, network managers and IT administrators are often left to deal with these issues once a project is already underway—in other words, once it’s too late. This creates the potential for a worst-case scenario: A big data project fails to reach stated goals because the necessary IT resources aren’t available to support it, and the project strains the organization’s network and servers to the point that other operations and processes suffer.
“With big data projects, there’s a lot of information coming in, and it has to be in real time in order to be effective and precise. But you can’t be pulling in that much data and not expect it to have an overall impact on network performance,” says Jim Rapoza, senior research analyst of network and application performance at Aberdeen Group. According to a survey conducted by Aberdeen that was published in July 2013, the impact of big data on enterprise networks was ranked as the No. 4 performance concern by respondents, the majority of whom said their organization had already implemented big data projects or planned to in the next 12 months.