UP FRONT: From the Editor
Video ConversionBy Tom Haunert
Point of clarity for big data is delivered by videos.
When I’m looking for source material on information technology, I don’t usually look for it in video content. I have nothing against video as another way to communicate information, but I typically prefer to get technology information from articles, Web pages, white papers, documentation, and so on. Recently, however, I saw a series of information technology videos that filled in the proverbial blanks for me about a particular technology: big data.
My search for clarity on big data began a couple of years ago, and the initial challenges were many. First, as an editor, I often query or delete the word big in descriptions of technology problems and solutions, because big as a descriptor in enterprise technology doesn’t usually add much value. (In Oracle Magazine’s coverage of enterprise-class Oracle platforms, frameworks, and tools that manage the ever-growing volumes and types of structured and unstructured data in today’s information explosion, the word big may also be redundant.)
Second, in my initial search for definitions and descriptions of big data, I found what seemed to be different definitions from different companies. And although I also found some comfort in editorial content substantiating my opinion that the definitions of big data at the time were variable, that same content didn’t help with my understanding of big data as a technology.
Finally, the examples of information included in big data stores and the technologies that used them were as variable as big data’s definitions. And most examples seemed to be presented as new data silos for specific industries, making the application of an example to another industry a challenging task.
Things got better, of course. With time, the definition of the information behind big data enjoyed more-consistent descriptions. And while I continue to query or delete the word big in a lot of technology content in Oracle Magazine, when I see the big in big data, I now map it to the generally accepted high-volume, high-velocity, and high-variety characteristics of that information. Finally, the practical application of big data solutions made sense to me after I saw five short videos about big data that presented an example of big data in action (literally) and integrated into a larger enterprise information context.
I first saw the videos—see Next Steps for their titles and links to access them—at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 during a general session on big data. They tell a story about a fictional company with a big data challenge and its solutions, which address the storage, integration, analysis, and visualization of big data information. Together, the videos tell a good, general, and accessible story about big data, and each video ends with pointers to Oracle big data solutions, including Oracle NoSQL Database, Oracle Exadata, Oracle Data Integrator, Oracle Loader for Hadoop, Oracle R Enterprise, and Oracle Exalytics.If you’re looking for information on big data, I encourage you to check them out.
Tom Haunert, Editor in Chief
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