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April 2012, Vol. 38

IT pros rethink data center infrastructure to support 'big data'

Big data isn’t just for the big boys anymore. Advanced data analytics is beginning to trickle down into enterprise and commercial accounts that have far less data than Web 2.0 titans. “Big data” began with Facebook’s inbox search engine and Google’s MapReduce, but big data analytics have become a strategy used by many types of companies to grow business. Retail giant Target recently made headlines for its controversial big data analytics strategy, which it reportedly uses to predict consumer buying habits and win new customers. For IT pros, big data analytics often means implementing vastly horizontally scalable farms of relatively small, low-power components, which runs contrary to the themes of convergence and consolidation prevalent in the virtualization era. Big data infrastructure in the enterprise: A tangled web CareCore National, a health care benefits management firm with data centers in South Carolina and Colorado, relies on data analytics to create very specific comparisons of current medical patients with their peers ...

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