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  • IT's battle with data center networking changes

    Data center networking is no longer just a maze of physical cables; it's a tangled web of overlays and firewall rules. Database management is more than ensuring you have enough capacity as your company collects increasing volumes of data and expects real-time analysis.

    Yet users demand simplicity; they expect the underlying infrastructure to be invisible. Executives want IT to function like a utility. When they turn on the tap, they don't care about the plumbing required to deliver the water; they simply want it to work. This is the tension threatening to plunge IT shops into chaos -- to build and support ever more complex data center infrastructure while making it appear effortless.

    Nowhere is this tension more clear than the growing demand to store and digest big data. However, it's not just about big data networking today. It's about doing something with that data -- and doing it now. Curiously, technologies that once aimed to streamline operations have sometimes led to more complexity. Networking overlays, for example, have given operators the ability to steer traffic and create logical resource pools, but they also come with additional management overhead.

    All these topics and much more in this month's Modern Infrastructure.

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  • Big data users share their trying but winning analytics war stories

    The challenges encountered in deriving business benefits from big data are huge, but so are the rewards. Hadoop and related technologies are easing those challenges to the point where companies are willing to graduate from experimental to full-blown big data analytics deployments. Still, the march toward that goal can be long and arduous, and not just from a technological and architectural standpoint. Before taking the plunge, big data users, including data scientists, managers and evangelists, are faced with the sometimes monumental task of justifying big data's return on investment to business executives focused on competition, profit margins and allocation of funds. "For a lot of organizations like ours, big data has not yet become a core foundation of running the business," said Beata Puncevic, director of analytics, data engineering and data management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Yet, actionable insights gained from big data analytics can be indispensable in driving revenue, reducing costs and developing new products.

    This handbook on big data analytics examines the trials and tribulations of big data users who are on the front lines, devising and implementing partial and full-blown applications. In the first feature, editor Craig Stedman interviews battle-tested IT and analytics warriors from Blue Cross, Macy's and Progressive Insurance who reveal the business challenges in justifying the worthiness of big data applications. In the second feature, Stedman explains how real-time big data analytics is helping companies like Comcast and eBay to move quickly on massive amounts of incoming information. And in the third feature, reporter Ed Burns spotlights the decisions at Neilsen and Nasdaq to run or not to run big data systems in the cloud.

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  • Enterprise data analytics strategy: A guide for CIOs

    This Essential Guide explores enterprise data analytics strategies and how to select the right infrastructure, management tactics and technologies for your organization. Continue Reading

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