Red Hat Tackles Business Intelligence and “Big Data”

Author’s Note: This is an article written for a client in the IT and Application Development industry.

Red Hat’s big news on February 11th was the launch of JBoss Data Virtualization 6, making the feature rich platform for data integration and unified access across disparate data sources available to end-users who wish to turn so called “big data” into actionable information.

According to Red Hat’s release, “Data is spread throughout organizations in various big data and traditional stores such as Apache Hadoop, relational databases and NoSQL stores such as MongoDB. Integrating and transforming data from these disparate stores can be a challenge to access or productively use. The difficulty of making this data accessible to external applications, such as analytics and business intelligence software, can be a barrier to effectively leveraging these technologies to extract valuable and actionable information from the data. JBoss Data Virtualization helps solve this problem by allowing for simultaneous access to these disparate stores.”

Although it is more of a positioning idea than an actual change in data warehouse systems, Red Hat wants you to begin to think of data not as an inventory item in a warehouse and more as part of a supply chain that feeds a larger set of decision-makers and makes better use of structured and unstructured data.

According to Syed Rasheed, senior principal product marketing manager at Red Hat JBoss Middleware, “Organizations are no longer suffering from a lack of data, they’re suffering from a lack of the right data. In today’s data-driven world, it is not only analytical applications that need to access data from diverse sources, but operational and transactional applications and processes as well. Business leaders need the right data in order to effectively define the strategic direction of the enterprise.”

He adds, that “the reality is that data in most organizations is distributed across multiple operational and analytical systems, including Apache Hadoop, relational databases, and NoSQL stores such as MongoDB. With social media, cloud applications and syndicated data services leading to expanding volume, variety and velocity of data, many organizations are realizing that physical consolidation or replication of data is not practical for all data integration and business agility needs.”

Because Red Hat is essentially creating a “mostly” open-source platform aimed at maximizing the usefulness of the now commonplace large data sets that companies have and continue to collect, this addition will open this up to business buyers and not just IT and developers. More costly systems make using this data prohibitive for many smaller organizations and this will allow for data to be accessible to a far larger set of users than many companies could afford.

Its importance is underscored by Red Hat, “Information management and delivery are critical functions of modern business operations,” said Craig Muzilla, senior vice president, Applications Platform Products Group at Red Hat. “If organizations are going to have any success translating meaningless data into actionable information, integration tools like JBoss Data Virtualization play a key role in making the data readily accessible.”

It is important for firms to understand that “big data” and “business intelligence” now walk nearly hand in hand. Very nearly all companies wishing to compete in the new digital universe and win with customers who are more mobile, have dramatically changed buying habits and are now speaking back to marketers via social media, will sooner rather than later need to tackle how to take these still growing data warehouses and put them to work on behalf of the business.

Companies who want to harness this data and are considering using open source tools to do so or have multiple data stores like Apache Hadoop, relational databases or NoSQL stores like MongoDB may wish to engage outside expertise to plan and deploy a Red Hat solution to “big data” mining. Although this is relatively new the basic components that comprise the platform are not and there are a number of low cost resources for building your data virtualization system.

This new addition to Red Hat’s list of integrations should make that easier and more accessible to firms large and small.