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The Fourth V in Big Data

At Cisco Live! Melbourne, I was invited to speak at the Executive Symposium to nearly 100 of Cisco’s top customers in the Australia and New Zealand region.  In my talk, Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche, I covered big data business opportunities and technology challenges.

To level set at the start, I opened with a definition of big data, including the typical velocity, volume, and variety seem to be the three V’s everyone hears when it comes to big data.    But then I challenged the audience to consider the fourth and in fact most important V, holding back on identifying it so the audience could consider what was missing.

Gaining Insight from the Big Data Avalanche from Cisco Data Center

After an appropriate pause, I told them the most important V was value.  Value is the only reason to work on big data.  This value must be seen in better business outcomes such as:

  • Higher Customer Profitability
  • Faster Time to Market
  • Reduced Cost
  • Improved Risk Management
  • Better Compliance
  • Greater Business & IT Agility

It is interesting how people get knocked off guard by the big data buzzwords.  So go back to the basics.  Start by getting your business case in order.  Once the value to the business is understood, juggling higher data velocity, volume and/or variety becomes an engineering problem. Certainly, a new class of engineering problem, requiring new technologies and skills, but it is a fully solvable engineering problem nonetheless.

For IT, big data is as much an organizational change challenge, as a technology challenge.  Practical first steps that seem to work well include:

  • Experiment with a smaller, “SWOT” team on a selected set of projects.  This is a great way to introduce something new.
  • Go for some quick and easy wins, rather than boiling the ocean with large-scale initiatives.  That is a proven technique for gaining momentum.
  • Implement a solution with revenue impact, such a next-best offer analytic to improve upsell performance or a predictive churn analytic that helps reduce customer defection.  These high visibility projects will ease business funding challenges and improve executive visibility / sponsorship.

 

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Customers Gather in NYC to Talk Data Virtualization

This year Cisco held Data Virtualization Day 2013 at the New York Palace in New York City. With 350 attendees from more than 130 organizations, it marked the largest event to date and showcased data virtualization is top of mind for organizations as they try to extract more value out of their data.

Data Virtualization -- Different points of view

During the event, customers, analyst and Cisco executives gathered to share best practices, discuss trends driving data virtualization and provide insight into Cisco’s go-forward strategy to expand and accelerate data virtualization offers.  Some highlights included:

  • Customers such as Goldman Sachs, BMO and British Sky Broadcasting shared insider’s views of their implementations, also explaining the significant profitability, agility, and risk management benefits their enterprises have achieved.

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  • Top data virtualization analysts at Forrester and R20 Consultancy discussed data virtualization adoption acceleration as well as the business and technology trends behind it.
  • Looking ahead, Noel Yuahanna of Forrester described global information fabrics powered by data virtualization that integrate enterprise, partner, marketplace, social and line of business information fabrics to provide connected data anytime, anywhere. Rick van der Lans, R20 Consultancy, discussed how data virtualization along with powerful networks – which will allow data to stay where it is collected – will become the dominant data integration method.

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  •  Mike Flannagan, General Manager of Cisco’s Integration Brokerage Technology Group,discussed why Cisco chose to enter the data virtualization business and noted that the big data, cloud computing and “Internet of Everything” eras were making data virtualization a must have for Cisco’s customers.
  • Jim Green, General Manager of Cisco’s Data Virtualization Business Unit, presented his vision for data virtualization’s next generation and that achieving massive scale was the next frontier for data virtualization technology. He also discussed Cisco’s strategy to innovate using a unique mix of data virtualization, networking, and compute assets to meet this scale challenge.

Learn More

Highlights from these presentations will soon be posted to our Data Virtualization Day resources page and the Cisco data virtualization offering page.  So stay tuned.

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Data Virtualization Meets the Network

The acquisition of Composite Software by Cisco has created quite a stir in the enterprise IT community.  Data virtualization and networking – how does that make sense?

One should assume that before it invested $180M in Composite, Cisco must have had something in mind.

And a recent report entitled Data Virtualization Meets the Network from analyst firm EMA provides several pretty clear insights into just what that something might be.

According to EMA, “sophisticated users and applications, along with less expensive hardware and software, better and faster technology, and new valuable data sources are causing a shift away from single platforms solutions such as enterprise data warehouses towards a more diverse or hybrid ecosystem (watch video) focused on matching data type, workload and platform capabilities to execute these workload.

Hybrid strategies allow for deeper business insights and more sophisticated workloads but often demand more than traditional data integration tools can deliver. As more platforms are utilized and data is more diverse and geographically separated, data virtualization becomes a solution that’s critical for many companies to utilize.”

So that is the case for data virtualization.  But why combine data virtualization and networking.  The report addresses this point directly.  “As data virtualization has matured to meet these new demands, the networks sitting at either end of the data virtualization technology, have become the bottlenecks to speed and scale.

Data virtualization technologies access data where it resides versus physically moving it to other platforms. This model allows for a more agile environment saving time and money when managing data in complex environments. Data virtualization platforms must rely upon query optimization along relatively fixed network paths to enable the transmission of this data.” Check this video dialog with Shawn Rogers, VP of Research Enterprise Management Associates.

“The acquisition of Composite Software is a wise move for Cisco as it combines the functionality of data virtualization and Cisco’s ability to understand the network as well as enact change within it to allow data virtualization to be executed at an even higher level than previous technologies allowed.”

This blog covers the high points of EMA’s research report.  If you would like to see the complete version click here.
You may want also read Shawn Rogers blog Data Virtualization and the Network = Disruption

 

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Introducing Cisco Data Virtualization

Fast changing business conditions require agility, a difficult challenge in your distributed on-premises, big data and cloud environments. Data virtualization makes it easy for you to access your data, no matter where it resides.

Recognizing this accelerating customer requirement, Cisco acquired data virtualization market leader Composite Software in July 2013.

Cisco’s integrated data platform optimizes query, compute and network infrastructure,so you access and query all types of data across the network as if it is in a single place.

You get the benefits of greater business insight and the flexibility you need in IT, with significant cost savings. You can then adapt to change more quickly and make better decisions in real time, without physically moving your data.

Data virtualization makes it possible to:

  • Empower your people with instant access to all the data they want, the way they want it
  • Respond faster to your changing analytics and business intelligence needs
  • Reduce complexity and save money

To learn how business and IT leaders use data virtualization to address big data and cloud challenges and drive business advantage, you can attend Cisco-sponsored Data Virtualization Day 2013 in New York City on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm ET.

This year’s powerful speaker line up includes:

Executives from Goldman Sachs, BMO Financial and Sky who will describe how they used data virtualization to address competitive, cost and compliance challenges

Analyst speakers including Forrester Research’s Noel Yuhanna and R20/Consultancy’s Rick van der Lans will describe the state of data virtualization today, while projecting its future

Cisco executives will communicate the vision surrounding their acquisition of Composite Software and the synergies that the combination will provide to the data virtualization user community

Read More »

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Composite Software

Big data and cloud are drastically changing today’s IT landscape. The proliferation of traditional and new data sources plus the movement of data to the cloud complicate a company’s ability to access all of its data assets. This creates an important need to complement traditional data warehousing by providing a real-time, consolidated logical view of data, better known as data virtualization.

Today, Cisco is announcing its intent to acquire Composite Software, a market leader in data virtualization software and services. Composite’s technology connects and optimizes many types of data from across the network and makes it appear as if it’s in one place, allowing companies to make better business decisions. Together, Cisco and Composite will help to accelerate the shift from physical data integration to data virtualization.

For example, the NYSE Euronext produces billions of data per day through quotes, trades, orders, receipts. This data is housed in multiple locations. Composite provided a solution with its data virtualization platform, which functions as a virtual data warehouse to provide access to trades, orders, quotes and other data for analysis, compliance and reporting across 14 exchanges. With data virtualization’s flexible data delivery infrastructure, the organization increased business responsiveness, improved the breadth of analytic insight and lowered its costs.

Consistent with our model for Next Generation IT, Composite will expand Cisco’s portfolio of Smart Services and extend our next-generation services platform with software and hardware solutions. By connecting network knowledge (APIs) and programmability with Cisco’s industry leading Unified Computing System, and adding Composite’s software and query optimization expertise, Cisco will be well positioned to provide highly differentiated capabilities to our customers.

In addition, this acquisition reinforces our commitment to support partner consumption models and assist our partners in broadening their services portfolios.

This acquisition builds on Cisco’s framework for a unified platform and our software services strategy with the recent acquisition of SolveDirect. Composite’s data virtualization solution, combined with SolveDirect’s process integration platform, will provide cross-domain data and workflow integration capabilities to enable real-time business insights and operations.

 

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