I’m a big fan of Cloudera CEO (and Nodeable board member) Mike Olson. In addition to all the great personal qualities he has, including being the king of obscure Facebook updates that only two people on the planet at any one time understand, Olson is a fantastic oracle for the industry. That vision in on full display in this Silicon Angle interview, in which Olson calls out one of the glaring deficiencies in Big Data today:
Or, rather, the lack thereof. As Olson notes,
[T]he gating factor to wider adoption of big data is applications. Financial analysts, insurance adjusters and other potential business users need applications that know all that data is available and can use it. Those applications are starting to appear, but today we are at 1985 in RDBMS development terms.
Hadoop is powerful, but it’s still largely the province of geeks. We’ve got a growing roster of them here at Nodeable, using Hadoop to crunch machine data so as to give DevOps and other folks an easy, meaningful view into their infrastructure.
But we’re one application among many more that need to be built to make Big Data truly small, industry-wide. For it will be applications, not raw Hadoop horsepower, that give users a strong “return per byte of data”, to coin Olson’s phrase.
This is not to suggest that the Big Data market is stagnant, waiting around for people to develop applications. Far from it. The Big Data market is booming, as recent studies illustrate. But it will be applications that make Big Data easy for enterprises to embrace. It will be applications that take Hadoop and other open-source tools out of the realm of the early adopter geeks and into the province of mainstream business analysts, marketers, sales executives, and so on.
It’s not far off. Vendors like VMware, with its cool new Spring Hadoop, are already making it easier for developers to write Big Data-friendly applications. As this intense focus on data continues, both in enterprise computing and consumer applications (Runkeeper, Fitbit, LoseIt!, etc.), we’re in for a world awash in Big Data. But because of applications, we won’t be drowning in it.