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By Margaret Harrist
Oracle Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison announces Oracle X5 Engineered Systems.
For many businesses, the full promise of big data is still a distant one. A few are implementing big data initiatives on a large scale, some are testing the waters with big data projects focused in specific areas, and many are exploring what big data might mean to their business in the future. Yet almost all are worried that they’re behind.
Big data is by far the most prevalent technology trend today, according to a recent study by consulting firm Capgemini. However, almost 80 percent of organizations have not achieved full-scale production of their big data initiatives. Two of the biggest stumbling blocks, Capgemini found, are data silos that prevent a unified view and slow down decision-making, and a dependence on legacy systems for data processing and management.
But building the technical foundation necessary to resolve those issues and make data useful has been a complex undertaking involving products from multiple vendors, major integration issues, and big expense—until now.
During a January 2015 launch event for Oracle’s next-generation engineered systems, Oracle Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison announced Oracle Big Data Appliance X5-2, which provides faster performance and twice the memory of its predecessor—at a much lower price than building your own Hadoop cluster. Oracle Big Data Appliance X5-2 eliminates data silos, quickens data processing, and simplifies management by integrating:
These capabilities not only make big data more business-friendly, they also mean that IT teams don’t need to build their own Hadoop clusters, which can include hundreds of components. Each component has its own update and configuration requirements.
"You get all this if you’re willing to pay less—but only if you’re willing to pay less," Ellison quipped.
Oracle Big Data Appliance X5-2 provides a 30-percent faster "time to benefit" at a price that is 21-percent cheaper than assembling all the components on your own, said Neil Mendelson, vice president of Oracle big data and advanced analytics, who provided a detailed overview of the capabilities of the system during the launch event.
The new economics of enterprise big data.
Businesses embarking on big data initiatives typically start with small-scale projects, he said, but the challenge is taking that pilot and scaling it up to work across an entire organization because of security concerns and a lack of the right skill set.
"We built security right into the box," Mendelson said. Oracle Big Data Appliance X5-2 provides integrated enterprise security with preconfigured Kerberos authentication, LDAP-based authorization, and robust centralized auditing with Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall.
Once a big data system is in place, he said, "The next step tends to stop a lot of people in their tracks. You have data from a lot of different sources, but how do you make sense of it?"
By bringing together faster performance, lower cost, and security with integrated software that makes it easy to access and use data, Oracle Big Data Appliance X5-2 brings the promise of big data within reach for more businesses, he added, and enables IT to deliver benefits to the business faster, at less cost, and with less risk.
"Data is now a kind of capital—it’s as necessary for new products, services, and ways of working as financial capital. And it affects every aspect of the business," Mendelson said.
According to the Capgemini report, the pressure to exploit data is growing: Almost 60 percent of executives surveyed believe that big data will disrupt their industry in the next three years.
"We have a track record of taking disruptive technology and turning it into enterprise productivity and value for the business," Mendelson said. "And that’s exactly what we’re doing with Oracle Big Data Appliance."