Taking Speadsheets to the Cloud

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Deploying Applications in the Cloud

While there's more talk than actual use of cloud computing in the enterprise, a Zeus Technology survey looks at the beginnings of a major shift under way. Clear expectations and planning can improve your experience and near-term success.

There is little doubt that large amounts of data will soon be moving into the cloud for the purpose of advanced analytics - mostly because acquiring all the IT infrastructure needed to support all that data is cost prohibitive for many organizations. What is not so certain, however, is what that data is going to look like.

Conventional wisdom holds that given the fact that much of this data is destined for analysis, it will most likely reside inside a business intelligence application or advanced analytics application. The folks at 1010data, a provider of a Big Data analytics platform that is made available mostly via the cloud, would beg to differ.

According to 1010data CEO Sandy Steier, most business analysis today takes place in the context of a spreadsheet. Rather than force businesses to shift to a new paradigm for analyzing data, the 1010data service was specifically designed to allow users to analyze data using a spreadsheet metaphor that requires no additional training.

Steier says the 1010data system works by allowing organizations to load raw data into the system, which runs analytics on the data in ways that are presented using what the company calls a "trillion row spreadsheet." The service already contains five trillion records made up of thousands of individual tables.

As more organizations rethink their approach to data warehousing in the era of the cloud, the part that many of them are overlooking is finding ways to make sure that data is accessible. Most business people are very comfortable using spreadsheets and the storing of data in a new location does not mean people are going to give up their spreadsheets anytime soon. So unless IT organizations find ways to give people access to data in the cloud via a spreadsheet metaphor, they are going to wind up watching users download more duplicate data than ever into their local spreadsheet from the cloud - which kind of defeats the purpose of moving the data warehouse into the cloud in the first place.

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