In his book, Digital Exhaust: What Everyone Should Know About Big Data, Digitization and Digitally Driven Innovation, David Neef offers three options (highlighted in this recent TechTarget article) for building a big data system:
- Do-it-yourself ‘build-on’ to a company’s current enterprise IT structure
- Run parallel database frameworks
- Let someone else do it in the cloud.
I would argue there is a fourth option: partner with a managed service provider (MSP) to build a custom cloud-based solution. Think that sounds a lot like Neef’s third option? There are definitely similarities – mainly, companies don’t have to buy and maintain the hardware and software infrastructure and the cloud is highly scalable – but partnering with an MSP, instead of just plugging into a one-size-fits-all cloud solution, has several additional perks.
Firstly, moving to the cloud requires a lot of thought and data management at the front end. Working with an experienced big data MSP will give you access to expertise in these initial planning stages. Understanding how to select and run the right set of technologies is critical to unlocking the transformative power big data can have on any industry. Our big data services, for instance, combine our global network connectivity and robust enterprise grade infrastructure with big data software for a comprehensive managed solution that can be customized to meet specific client requirements. This customization is key for the resulting analysis of big data patterns to be meaningful or beneficial to your organization.
Which brings me to my second point; there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to big data. There are a number of big data technologies – Cassandra, Cloudera, Tableau, Zoomdata – that can be used in any combination. Your IT team might not have the knowledge base to identify and select the big data solutions that best fit your business. An MSP will have the expertise to help you choose the right set of technologies to meet complex requirements for business applications that require scalability, high performance, and continuous availability.
Finally, just as your IT team might not have the knowledge to plan a big data infrastructure, they likely don’t have the background – or time – required to build and manage a dig data solution. Taking advantage of established managed services will save you both time and money in your initial set up, and allow your IT team to focus on what really matters: your business. Working with an MSP comes with the added bonus of having enterprise-class security features, ongoing performance reviews and recommendations, and 24×7 monitoring and support with ITIL-based service framework and governance.
In the end, the real difference between “let someone do it for you in the cloud” and my suggestion of partnering with an experienced MSP is confidence. Confidence that you are evaluating all of your options, have the control you need to collect and analyze meaningful data, and can scale as needed, as well as confidence you are using your time and resources effectively. In short, working with an experienced big data MSP will give you confidence in the big data choices you make for your business.