Making Big Data Really Accessible

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The Business Impact of Big Data

Many business executives want more information than ever, even though they're already drowning in it.

It's all well and good to collect large amounts of data because it's become more affordable to do so thanks to the advent of data management frameworks such as Hadoop. But eventually the IT organization is going to have to provide a return on that Big Data investment by delivering information to the business that is truly actionable.

Providers of business intelligence applications, of course, have been banging that drum for a while now. But the folks at Splunk, a provider of an open source tool for indexing and searching machine data, are making the case for a more cost-effective approach to making all the data more accessible to the entire enterprise in real time.

With the delivery of Splunk Enterprise 4.3 this week, Splunk is releasing an update to what it describes as an operational intelligence platform that leverages the core Splunk technology to analyze massive amounts of data in real time. As part of this release, that data, regardless of whether it's in the core Splunk engine or accessed via interfaces to Hadoop and other data sources, can now be presented in a series of HTML5 reports running on any mobile computing device or standard PC.

According to Sanjay Mehta, senior director of product marketing at Splunk, this approach eliminates the need to invest in expensive BI applications by using a set of Splunk technologies that many IT organizations are already pretty familiar with.

While the core Splunk technology is open source, the enterprise version of Splunk starts at $5,000. Pricing increases from there based on the amount of data consumed, but Mehta says that model still winds up being a whole lot less expensive than BI application software licenses. At the same time, Splunk Enterprise comes with a distribution of Hadoop and all the integration capabilities required, which Mehta says means that an IT organization can usually start delivering business reports based on Big Data sources in a matter of weeks.

Mehta says that machine data is probably one of the most valuable things that IT organizations have. The challenge has been finding a way to make all that machine data available in a business context. But once that happens, the value of that Big Data suddenly becomes a whole lot more apparent.

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