COMMENT: In The Field
The Data Decade
By Ian Abramson
Exploring the possibilities—and the needs— of the future.
The past 10 years have been game-changing for technology. Today’s technology connects people to information—and to each other—in completely new ways. We now take for granted the idea that information—a vast reservoir of connected information—is available to us 24 hours a day.
So what will the next decade bring? And how will technology enable us to access this information and use it to better our world?
The Data Decade has already begun. What does that mean? To begin, we must look for new infrastructures that can deliver information quickly and securely, because it will be imperative to support the huge volumes of data that will be generated in the coming years.
One way to do this is with data appliances such as the Oracle Exadata Storage Server, which is based on Sun hardware from Oracle. The Oracle Exadata appliance has forever changed how Oracle software and hardware interact, providing amazing performance for data warehouses. The speed of this appliance enables many new options for drilling through masses of data, and machines such as these can store and quickly retrieve vast amounts of information for data users. The Oracle Exadata Storage Server is just one example of the kind of enabling technology that will provide seamless access to both structured and unstructured data with utmost speed and accuracy.
Resolving queries is not enough: companies need integrated data solutions, and enterprises are adopting master data management and data hubs to provide centers of knowledge.
A project that I’m involved in illustrates this shift. The customer, a major retailer with a network of more than 1,000 independently owned stores, needs a portal that will provide its store owners with a single source of information from which they can all glean data—and value—interactively. One goal of the project is to enable all the dealers to exchange ideas and strategies that will help them grow their businesses.
The solution leverages most of the Oracle technology stack, including Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Universal Content Management, and Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g. The goal is to create an environment that is open and flexible and that can leverage new technology.
Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g was selected because it meets current needs and is extensible for future requirements. Because the suite provides so much out-of-the-box functionality, the client is confident that future enhancements in Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g will be compatible.
In addition to storing, retrieving, managing, and sharing data, people must be able to decode the information they already have. They need tools and methodologies that will help them glean greater value from their data. Business intelligence tools provide the analytics companies need—for both structured and unstructured content—to make better decisions, take more-effective actions, and build better business processes.
One final area in which we will see continued growth is the “greening” of technology. The dual challenges of protecting the environment and reducing the use of resources mean that shrinking our energy footprint will be essential. The 2010 IOUG enterprise platform decisions survey conducted by Unisphere Research and VMware found that in 2009, half of all enterprises increased their use of virtualization, primarily to reduce costs. These cost savings result from consolidation and lower hardware costs, but the side benefit is that enterprises also reduce their energy and resource usage.
These areas will see significant changes in the next decade. The goals that will drive IT in the future will be gaining control of and managing our data so that we can discover the value and wisdom it contains and improve our enterprises and our lives.