Data has long played an essential if unglamorous supporting role in systems and computing. Now, as data grows both in volume and importance, it’s time for data to take its place in the spotlight.
The essential nature of data and databases hasn’t really changed—numbers, fields, and strings are all still there—but there is more. A lot more. By 2020, it’s predicted there will be almost 2.5 GB of data generated every day, for every single person on the planet1 (Gartner, 2017). By then, there will also be more than 20 billion devices connected to the internet of things (IoT), all of them generating data every second. The real shift has come in the transformative potential of cloud computing and what we can now do to make data more valuable. Across the world, organizations small and large are going big with data. Consequently, ambitious businesses and developers are constantly pushing the limits and breaking new ground in exciting related areas including business intelligence tools, predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
But these exciting technologies, and the huge potential they have to change the world around us, would be useless without good data that’s well organized, consistent, and highly available.
According to Accenture: “Firms need a cultural change in terms of the innovative mindset, new business roles, and advanced skills required throughout the organization—including senior management—to capture and understand the real business value behind the adoption of Big Data."2 (Accenture, 2017)
There is plenty to learn, and research indicates that organizations should focus on becoming educated. NVP reports that even though 85% of companies are trying to be data driven, only 37% of those say they’ve been successful3 (NVP, 2018). This means it’s an exciting time for IT professionals to become skilled at Big Data.
Data is channeled into organizations through a variety of ways these days. So, the big question is where to put it all, and how to use it to create value or generate a competitive advantage.
The three “Vs” of big data—volume, variety and velocity—sum up the challenge for Big Data specialists. The sheer amount of data is skyrocketing, the types of data are multiplying, and the speed at which valuable insights must be generated is increasing. Fortunately, this growth is being matched by a concurrent increase in the flexibility and availability of on-demand scalable storage and compute power in the AWS Cloud. In addition, the diversity of ready-to-configure features designed to deliver value for databases help make the AWS Cloud the perfect petri dish for growing a data-rich culture.
AWS offers a range of services for creating Big Data environments, including Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Redshift, Amazon QuickSight, Amazon Athena, and Amazon Kinesis. These allow data specialists to design Big Data environments in line with best practices to be robust, accessible, secure, and cost effective. Data processing can be handled with Amazon EMR, the broad suite of Apache Hadoop toolsets, Apache Spark, and more. The number of services and the range of methods which can connect them all can be both a challenge and an opportunity. There is a lot to know, but that’s what Big Data is all about, and the rewards of successful Big Data projects can be transformative for businesses and IT professionals alike.
One path to understanding Big Data on AWS is to take advantage of the training available. Start with the free online training course, Big Data Technology Fundamentals, to build a firm foundation in Big Data. Next, advance to Big Data on AWS, a classroom-based, intermediate-level course that teaches you to process data and create Big Data environments. Finally, validate your knowledge and skills by earning the AWS Certified Big Data – Specialty certification. This will give you the credibility of an industry-recognized qualification in this specialized area. However you decide to take your first steps into Big Data on the AWS Cloud, you can rely on AWS Training to help you find your way in this exciting, frontier technology.
Grow your skills and invest in the Big Data future
What’s next with data? Well, we can be confident that there will be more if it. Among the incredible statistics being bandied about, there seems to be broad agreement that the digital universe will more than double every two years4 (Inside Big Data, 2017). As data continues to multiply and more devices becoming connected, the opportunities to do incredible things with data will multiply as new ideas about making data valuable are conceived, born, and helped to grow into reality. Perhaps the next world-shaking idea will be yours.
- Gartner (2017) Gartner Says 8.4 Billion Connected "Things" Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent From 2016. [Online] Available at https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2017-02-07-gartner-says-8-billion-connected-things-will-be-in-use-in-2017-up-31-percent-from-2016 (Accessed 10/10/2018)
- Accenture (2017) Exploring Next Generation Financial Services: The Big Data Revolution. [Online] Available at https://www.accenture.com/t20160531T050317__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-21/Accenture-Next-Gen-Financial-Services-Big-Data-Revolution.pdf (Accessed 10/10/2018)
- NVP (2018) Big Data Executive Survey 2017. [Online] Available at http://newvantage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Big-Data-Executive-Survey-2017-Executive-Summary.pdf (Accessed 10/10/2018)
- Inside Big Data (2017) The Exponential Growth of Data. [Online] Available at https://insidebigdata.com/2017/02/16/the-exponential-growth-of-data/ (Accessed 10/10/2018)