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Big Data Report: Consumers, Businesses Take to the Cloud

Fortune 500 companies and individual users are amassing colossal amounts of data in mind-blowingly short amounts of time. We’re creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, according to IBM—so much that 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in just the last two years. This is big data.

Where does it all come from? From everywhere: climate information, digital images and video, purchase transaction records and GPS signals, to name a few.

Then, of course, there’s the data generated by social media posts. According to the open source analyst firm Wikibon,Twitter, Facebook, Google and the myriad social sites operating today pull in vast amounts of user-contributed, unstructured data. From the 48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute of the day, to the 571 new websites that launch daily, to the 100 terabytes Facebook users contribute every 24 hours, the growth is staggering.The production of this data is expected to continue growing, adding to an ever-deeper set of data.

Here’s where the problem arises.Data sets this large and complex are almost impossible to manage using traditional database management tools.Where do we put it all?

To the Cloud

Businesses and consumers are increasingly using cloud storage services for theirfile storage needs. As a result,cloudstorage companies are hitting new highsservice providerslike Mozy, Dropbox,, Zip Cloud, SugarSync and BackupGeniehave skyrocketed. In fact, Wikibon predicts the business of big data management is predicted to grow into a $50 billion industry in the U.S., with a shortfall of 150,000or more skilled employees by 2017.

Big Business Data

Last week IBM announced a cloud update to their System/Z COBOL platform, while Dell backed away from their OpenStack offering. Simultaneously, big data startups like Tableau and Marketo enjoyed unusually successful IPOs. The exciting area for investors isnt hardware or even software; it’s the Web enterprise services market.

Marketo markets its service as a salesforce for the marketing department, according to a recent TechCrunch article. Tableau is a service that visualizes data, making it easier to digest. The quantitative side of data is fundamental to big data, but far less ripe for technological advancement than the qualitative side of the equation at this point and thats where growth is flourishing.

Individual Data

Individual consumers have taken their data to the cloud as well, even if they don’t always realize it. Uploading and storing one’s photos on Facebook is cloud storage and backup at its most elemental. People in the creative services (think artists, writers, graphic and Web designers and photographers) also store and back up their data in the cloud; the days of a hard copy portfolio are long gone. It’s all kept in the cloud, with easy access by potential employers and clients.Employees and companies can pitch their ideas, rough drafts and other creative brainstorms via the cloud, where clients can easily track a project’s progress.

As more consumers store their files in the cloud, marketers need help in recognizing patterns within this cycle of use. Are users more apt to share and store photos, videos, files and presentations? Are they sharing this data alongside branded products and creating a larger stream of connected data? These are some of the issues currently under review at businesses around the Web.

Let’s Talk Big Data

Keeping up with industry changes in how data is collected, stored and minedis the focus of an increasing number of conventions. Interop Vegas, one of the largest and widest in scope, covers aspects of megatrends like the cloud, big data, mobile business, social media and more.

Smaller, specialized conferences and trade shows like the upcoming Forecast 2013 this June in San Francisco will also tackle similar topics urgent to today’s businesses. The Big Data Cloud Today event in Mountain View, Calif., on May 31 will explore the technology challenges of big data and hostQA sessions with representatives of industry leaders.

The sheer amount of data we’re generating is staggering, and how we manage and analyze it will set the stage for how we grow and innovate. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data. Consumers and enterprise employees who have yet to make the transition can visit Cloud Storage Finder to compare cloud storage service providers.

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