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23
Jun

Harry Potter, The Elephant, The FBI and The Data Warehouse


In the ancient Indian parable of the elephant, six blind men touch an elephant and report  six very different views of the same animal. Compare this scenario to a data warehouse that is getting data from six different sources. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” as a field in a database can be written as “HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone” or as “Harry Potter I” or simply – “Sorcerer’s Stone”.  In the data warehouse these are four separate movie titles.  For a Harry Potter fan, they are the same movie.  Now increase the number of movies to cover the entire Harry Potter series and further include fifty  languages.  You now have a set of titles which may perplex even a real Harry Potter aficionado.

What does this have to do with data analytics?

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6
Jun

Apple iCloud Service – Lessons for “Big Data” and BI Architects


Apple with its iCloud offering is attacking the consumer facing digital content big data problem. Big Data is challenging on many fronts from the insights (e.g., analytics and query optimization), to the practical (e.g., horizontal scaling), to the mundane (e.g., backup and recovery).

On June 6th, 2011 Apple Inc. launched its new purpose built digital locker service called iCloud for its 225 million iTunes accounts that frees the end-user from the tyranny of the device.  The iCloud service is a cloud offering that would allow users to store digital files such as photos, MP3 music, videos and documents in the cloud and access them from Internet-connected devices like iPhones, iPads, iPods, iMacs and others.  

So, what’s the big deal? They are addressing a classic BI data management problem:   How to free up data trapped in “device and  application jails” in a user-friendly way. The “scan and match” concept   is quite applicable to large scale Enterprise Datawarehouses which suffer from data integrity issues as edge data capture and consumption devices proliferate.

Data ingestion, governance and management is a huge problem facing large organizations.  As data volumes double every year, not having a basic data management strategy will become an Achilles heel. Most organizations unfortunately don’t know what data assets they have, where these assets are, how they are organized and how well they are secured.  Apple shows a neat way to address the Big Data problem in personal cloud management.

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