“Disruptive Possibilities: How Big Data Changes Everything” by Jeffrey Needham; O’Reilly Media

“Big Data” in the current big thing, with the world of sensors and user interactions providing a wealth of information that companies not only need to worry about storing but also utilising to make smart decisions to get ahead of their competitors and win over their customers. This book provides the background to where Big Data computer comes from and what it means for enterprise and commercial organisations. The concepts of Big Data are not new and have derived from disruptive computing elements from the past, the history of which is clearly and interestingly explained. The differences between Big Data and scientific supercomputing, grid, and cloud are also covered.

To keep up with the Big Data game IT departments in organisations are likely to need to make many changes, not only to their hardware and software platforms, but also to the way their departments operate and their applications are written. These disruptions are discussed along with the nature of Big Data platforms, in particular Hadoop. There is also a chapter on the future of Big Data. Nothing in computing ever stands still, so it is useful to have a view of where the next big thing might be heading or coming from.

To begin with I found the book a little difficult to read, in particular the first chapter appeared to be a game of buzz-word bingo on steroids! The cause and problems created by silos being the main point of the early part of the book. It felt a bit like arm-waving marketing preachiness to start with, however, the further into the book I got, the more understandable, relevant, and informative it became.

I think this book will be of particular interest to IT folk and managers in enterprise organisations, or those that develop software for those users, that are new to Big Data and want to understand what it will mean for their business and what changes will be required. It’s easy to read from beginning to end, although you might just want to go back and read the first chapter again at the end of the book!

Find out more from the O’Reilly Product page.


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