Much Hadoop About Nothing

| January 11, 2015

By Clint Boulton:  One analyst believes Big Data — analytics software that parses large amounts of data for potentially useful business information — has fallen into the “trough of disillusionment,” a lull in the technology’s progression.

Gartner Inc. said that Big Data has fallen into a “trough of disillusionment,” due to its complexity. The research firm said current obstacles to adoption could be eliminated, though, as Big Data tools such as Hadoop are integrated into mainstream analytic applications.

Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular wrote that CIOs are finding it difficult to get value from Big Data software such as Hadoop, largely because they haven’t defined specific business problems that such tools might solve.  She said a client told her that framing the right questions is challenging.

It doesn’t help that there is a shortage of software engineers with skills to run Hadoop, a framework based on open-source technology from Google. that allows clusters of low-cost servers to analyze petabytes of information. Last month GameStop Corp. CIO Jeff Donaldson told CIO Journal that he passed on Hadoop because he didn’t want to take the time to make his engineers learn to use the software, or have to call in consultants for help.

Such obstacles to adoption might be temporary, though. Gartner analyst Bill Gassmann predicted in a report that Big Data will become standard issue in 65% of packaged, advanced analytic applications by 2015. Bundling Hadoop into mainstream analytics apps would boost adoption while reducing the need for engineers with specialized programming skills. Also, some startups are trying to make Hadoop more accessible for mainstream programmers, as AllThingsDigital’s Arik Hesseldahl reported.

Some CIOs are already getting value out of Hadoop. Aurelia Boyer, CIO of New York Presbyterian Hospital, told CIO Journal Friday her engineers are using Hadoop in conjunction with natural language processing software to crunch millions of patient records. She said that her engineers could use Hadoop to find every patient whose record mentions that they suffered a gunshot wound, a query that takes less than a minute to process. “That fast processing around our natural language is looking like a win for us with Hadoop,” Ms Boyer said.


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