I've been reading up on "Big Data" lately (that is, data sets so large and complex that they become difficult to process through traditional methods) and have been fascinated by some of the stats being thrown around. One study claims that 90 percent of the world's data has been generated over the last two years. And let's not forget how Microsoft phrased this growth: they claim just their Xbox servers have more computing power than the entire world had in 1999!
Too bad most of us aren't like Microsoft in this way, with the ability to invest in over 300,000 online servers for one business unit. That said, one recent research report found that companies which have adopted big data analytics "have gained a significant lead over the rest of the corporate world." But a counter example to that is that apparently most banks only use a third of their available data because of how hard it is to access (i.e., either slow or costly).
So with as a big and powerful as Big Data is, does it need to be really costly too? The answer: not necessarily, at least not if SAP can help it! Enter the concept of near-line data storage. Typically, data is either available online and immediately accessible (the more costly approach) or data is offline and archived (less costly) but then difficult to leverage with quite the delay when access is needed. The near-line storage approach is an intermediate storage solution that is designed to be the best of both worlds; that is, a close-to-real-time feel as if the data is online but without the costs generally associated with true online data.
But I'm just scratching the surface. Just last week, Elvira Wallis, a Senior Vice President at SAP Labs, wrote an article which explains in plain English the ins and outs of this concept of near-line data storage. While the outcome of near-line data storage may be exactly what many businesses are looking for, it's easier said than done. The importance of a data aging strategy can't be overlooked, let alone the configuration process required for near-line data storage to be implemented.
But businesses shouldn't have to worry about all the details associated with storage trade-offs and data aging specifics. Companies are, not surprisingly, much more interested in the benefits they can expect from insights only possible with quick access and analysis of their their data. That's why it makes sense for SAP to leverage its quick and predictable implementation methodology (i.e., rapid-deployment solutions) to provide those details on how best to take advantage of the benefits of near-line data storage.
So if you haven't already, feel free to check out the SAP BW Near-Line Storage rapid-deployment solution (RDS), which includes best practices and step-by-step guides for topics such as how to implement a data aging strategy and how to configure near-line storage (see here for the direct download link). These best practices and guides found in this RDS are freely available for download (i.e., included) as an added benefit for SAP customers interested in quickly and predictably improving their ability to take advantage of Big Data in a cost effective way.