3. Managing Unstructured Data
“What about all the various formats in unstructured data? I don't even know where to start fusing these together!”
The future belongs to unstructured data. Its sheer growth vector is intimidating—an estimated 40% per year!
It grows so fast because of all the formats in which you find it. Emails, plain text, flat files, web logs, machine & sensor data, geolocation info, clickstreams...with more formats appearing all the time!
Its volume is already up to more than 1,600 exabytes (80% of the world’s total data, by some estimates). By 2020, IDC estimates that number will reach 40,000 exabytes.
Unstructured data’s disparity & magnitude presents the analyst with 2 main problems:
- Preparing the data correctly, and
- Speed of analysis.
Thanks to technical innovations like Hadoop, NoSQL & Apache Spark open source technologies, unstructured data no longer complicates Big Data collection, storage, and preparation. But it can still eat away your time.
First you have to prepare the data. Assessing (as in our above challenges), formatting, and fusing. You can do this yourself - some analysts prefer to, thinking of data fusion as more an art than a science. But this is another step, and one that slows down deriving results from the data.
The Fix: Skip the extra step of separate data fusion. Use an analytics solution that does the fusion for you, letting you get to query results fast. This saves you time, and allows you to ride the wave of innovation in Big Data.
Unstructured data’s growth will take the entire Big Data field into new horizons. Some of the solutions in use now won’t survive...unless they’re already built to grow & evolve along with unstructured data. Keep the future in mind when selecting your tools.