Big Data Excitement at the 2012 Strata Conference

March 8, 2012

Don’t get hit by a stray bullet at the big data corral. IT World examines “The Wild West of Big Data.” Fresh from this year’s Strata Conference in Santa Clara, journalist Brian Proffitt  describes how the current hubbub around big data mirrors the open source environment of a decade ago (the sense of urgency around a rising technology) and how it doesn’t (the lack of a grass-roots community feel).

Excitement is understandable in this burgeoning field, and Proffit felt the anticipation of profit as a “zing” in the air. However, he seems to long for the atmosphere of yore, when excited hackers fueled the advance of innovation for innovation’s sake, rather than the current domination of cloud advances by corporate types looking to make a buck. While he admits companies acknowledge the open source contributions to their products, they usually do so by way of pointing out their own efforts to give back.

The article observes:

“Big data’s community is purely commercial and without the threat of a big competitor to stand in its way. In this sense, it is more of a gold rush than Linux ever was, because without the checks of the internal and external pressures that the early Linux community endured, there seems to be nothing that can get in big data’s way.

“Which may be why we are seeing, even now, signs from experts that are warning potential customers and the vendors willing to take their money to slow down and start really thinking about what they want to do.”

Excellent advice for any gold rush, we’d say. Proffit feels the same, but observes that such voices of caution were in the minority among the Conference’s speakers. No surprise there; who has time for the voice of reason during a stampede?

Cynthia Murrell, March 8, 2012

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