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The Ever-Expanding Role of Big Data

An exclusive Q&A with Dr. William L. Bain, founder and CEO of ScaleOut Software

"Security standards for moving data into and out of the cloud and for hosting it within the cloud will dramatically help accelerate adoption of the cloud as a secure computing platform," observed Dr. William L. Bain, founder and CEO of ScaleOut Software, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. Bain also noted that "additional standards for creating elastic clusters that are physically co-located and use high speed networking will also help in hosting applications that analyze Big Data."

Cloud Computing Journal: Agree or disagree? - "While the IT savings aspect is compelling, the strongest benefit of cloud computing is how it enhances business agility."

Dr. William L. Bain: Agree. The cloud opens up huge opportunities for everything from cloud bursting to meet peak demand to hosting a scalable data analysis platform. This full range of use cases serves to enhance business agility.

Cloud Computing Journal: Which of the recent big acquisitions within the Cloud and/or Big Data space have most grabbed your attention as a sign of things to come?

Bain: As a player in cloud computing and performance scaling, acquisitions like Platform Computing by IBM, Gemstone by VMware, and Terracotta by Software AG signal a clear trend toward the cloud's viability as a large-scale HPC platform. We believe that scalable computing is one of the prime opportunities for users of the cloud.

Cloud Computing Journal: In its recent "Sizing the Cloud" report Forrester Research said it expects the global cloud computing market to reach $241BN in 2020 compared to $40.7BN in 2010 - is that kind of rapid growth trajectory being reflected in your own company or in your view is the Forrester number a tad over-optimistic?

Bain: We think it is still early for cloud adoption, but we are certainly seeing strong interest in the use of our in-memory data grid products in both public and private cloud environments. The rate of growth that Forrester is predicting is consistent with the level of interest in our cloud offerings.

Cloud Computing Journal: Which do you think is the most important cloud computing standard still to tackle?

Bain: We think that security standards for moving data into and out of the cloud and for hosting it within the cloud will dramatically help accelerate adoption of the cloud as a secure computing platform. Additional standards for creating elastic clusters that are physically co-located and use high speed networking will also help in hosting applications that analyze Big Data.

Cloud Computing Journal: Big Data has existed since the early days of computing; why, then, do you think there is such an industry buzz around it right now?

Bain: We think there are two big trends that are driving this evolution. First, there is a convergence of enabling technologies like virtualization, inexpensive memory, powerful software middleware, and others that make large-scale analysis practical for nearly any size data set - and for nearly any size business. The second trend is the ever-growing competitive pressure to accelerate and sharpen business decisions to give your firm an advantage in the market. We believe these two trends are the drivers for "why now?"

Cloud Computing Journal: Do you think Big Data will only ever be used for analytical purposes, or do you envisage that it will actually enable new products?

Bain: These two aspects of Big Data are interconnected and have been used for product development for many years. For example, Big Data analysis has been used in fluid mechanics to create new aircraft, in structural analysis to build cars and buildings, and in bio-informatics for the creation of new drugs and treatments. The use of Big Data in predictive analytics enables the creation of new services and outreach campaigns. So we strongly believe that Big Data plays an important role in both scientific discovery and the design of new products and services.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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