Thursday, 13 December 2012

Big Data Coming to the UK



A U.S. company, and one that is pioneering the area of big data, announced earlier in December that their European expansion plans which include headquarters in the UK. Cloudera confirmed long-standing rumours that they would be opening UK operations through last week's announcement. The company raised some USD $65 million in its latest round of fundraising, some of which will go to get the UK operations up and running.

Cloudera is a three-year-old company specialising in Apache Hadoop, an open source framework making it possible to run data intensive applications with greater reliability and stability. The framework has been an instrumental tool in developing big data technologies and faster data communications.

The idea of big data is one of analysing and crunching very large data sets that cannot be practically handled by traditional desktop solutions and Internet hosting options. Big data requires faster and more powerful analytical tools and, more importantly, a robust cloud environment able to make use of data across thousands of servers. It also requires data centres capable of hosting high-powered analytical software.

With Cloudera's announcement out of the way, the rumour mill now turns to fellow big data companies MapR and Hortonworks. Even though MapR made their own announcement about a future London office last week, there is still a lot of speculation as to where that will lead.

It also remains to be seen how many jobs the three companies will generate once their facilities open. All three will obviously be competing to expand their European footprints and increase market share, but the level of talent they're able to secure in doing so will go a long way to determining each one's market position.

For now, it would seem as though Cloudera has the competitive edge. They have already worked out a partnership with Oracle to create the Oracle Big Data Appliance, a scalable system for massive data analysis within the Apache Hadoop environment. The company has also launched its own Project Impala high-speed, real-time query engine.

Big Data Biggest Winner

From our perspective, the big winner here is big data. The whole concept of big data was predicated on the fact that our increasingly mobile world adds new data to the Internet with every passing minute. Moreover, in a world where data analysis drives marketing, research and development, and future business plans, the ability to work with such large amounts of data is now highly critical.

Of particular interest is the idea of big data in virtualisation. Big data is almost custom-made for the cloud, with its ability to handle data from thousands of different points, and seems right at home with virtualisation. The technology comes at a very important time in Europe, a time when governments are really pushing hard to force the European cloud to catch up with the States. It seems the arrival of these three companies will only serve to accelerate that push. It should also result in more European companies migrating to the cloud.

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