The flood of data will affect small and midsize businesses (SMBs), even if their data volume may not be as sizeable as larger enterprises, due to legacy tools which were not built to support large volumes of data.
In a phone interview with ZDNet Asia, Alvin Goh, senior manager for system engineering and professional services at NetApp, described big data as the phenomenon in which the size of data volume has grown beyond the ability of current tools to effectively capture, store, manage and analyze the datasets. Today, organizations are looking at data models to help in their business decisions, said Goh.
While organizations are aware of big data, not many will harness tools to exploit such information, he said, pointing to predictions by Gartner which estimated that over 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data to gain competitive advantage through 2015.
While smaller firms will not encounter data volumes totaling in the petabytes, information growth in these organizations is moving from gigabytes to terabytes, Goh said. Thus, SMBs are now looking at how they can reduce cost, gain efficiency and maintain the security of their data centers, he said.
Small businesses face big data challenges when the toolsets they have become unaffordable and too complex for them to extract meaningful results from data sets in their systems, he explained.
SMBs will also face problems of having to store big data as their current infrastructure is not catered for scalability, he added. These companies are forced into "buying another set and another set [of storage systems]" which eventually makes the whole infrastructure even more complex to manage, he said.
To prepare for big data, SMBs will need to first understand their business requirements and current IT infrastructure and identify where and how they can improve their system, he said.
For smaller organizations that are "nimble" and wish to move on to a next-generation data center, but do not have big budgets to do so, Goh suggested that they look at storage technologies such as thin provisioning and virtualization to consolidate their physical assets. By streamlining their infrastructure, they will be able to build a foundation for cloud computing, he added.