The (Data) Explosion Heard Round the World

Big Data,

Massive forces are at work in the world of global communications that are, and will continue to drive, an explosion in data. It’s an exponential surge that is being created by users around the world. But this is not being driven by the huge growth in mobile phones. And it’s not the result of the huge increase in online users for applications such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. It’s also not because of the accelerating surge in the use of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices. On their own, it is none of these things.  It is the result of all of these combined. All of these trends have one singular thing in common: they all create data. And they are creating a ton of data.

The causes behind this eruption in the growth of data are not hard to find and include:

  • The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web which has generated exponential growth in the global user community—users with ever-expanding access to computing power and bandwidth.
  • The interaction of these users with Internet applications that has resulted in unprecedented levels of data and transaction volumes.
  • The shift to online advertising supported by the likes of Google, Yahoo, and others is a key driver in the data boom we are seeing today.
  • The expansion of the worldwide economy has spurred massive data growth for traditional commerce (e.g., increased airline travel, international purchases, online products, etc.).
  • The core social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and now Google+), by their very nature, have generated a seemingly endless new array of ways for people to communicate and interact, resulting in correspondingly large data sets and transaction volume.
  • Many specialized social networks have also arisen—everything from match-making sites to special interest groups, and even “buy-sell” applications that have generated their own micro-economies.
  • An entirely new breed of social network applications has been spawned, leveraging the inter-connection of social network users in fascinating ways, driving exponential growth in application volume, again with huge transaction volumes and data sizes (sometimes with virtually overnight success stories).
  • Web- and advertising-analytics applications abound, crawling and analyzing virtually every aspect of the user interaction described above, again resulting in massive data sets with intense database access needs.
  • An entirely new breed of chatter trend analytics applications have emerged, analyzing things like Twitter tweets, Facebook chats, and so on, requiring massive levels of data storage and access.
  • Lastly, the world is fundamentally now mobile. In fact, in burgeoning economies and established countries alike, smart phones and tablets are by far the most readily available, high-growth, and commonly used communication vehicle for much of the world’s population, generating a nearly incomprehensible stream of data, transactions, application interaction, and messaging volume (with no end in sight).

Take for example, what is happening in China. Li Yue, CEO of China Mobile, said recently that the Internet of Things will be one of its most important growth drivers as the State-owned company is transforming from a wireless operator to a digital service provider. “If everyone can link 10 items online, China will have at least 10 billion internet-enabled connections by 2020. This is a huge opportunity,” Li said during a recent 2016 World Mobile Congress held in Shanghai.

The simultaneous trend of China-focused services such as Baidu and Tencent gaining momentum during the last five years has overlapped with the emergence of smartphones and increasingly affordable mobile devices. Additionally, many cultures favor fashion items and style signifiers, something that modern smartphones can easily address — with different sizes, colors, form factors, background images, apps, etc. The timing of the Internet growth in China, combined with mobile-centric innovations in devices and applications, and the fact that Chinese culture has favored mobile devices as the de facto way to access the Internet is helping to fuel this data explosion.

Mellanox Technologies, as a leading supplier of end-to-end Ethernet and InfiniBand intelligent interconnect solutions and services for servers, storage, and hyper-converged infrastructure, is at the heart of managing this data explosion. Mellanox’s intelligent interconnect solutions increase data center efficiency by providing the highest throughput and lowest latency, delivering data faster to applications and unlocking system performance.

Recently we have been able to collaborate with tech powerhouses Tencent in China and IBM Corporation to produce dramatic improvements in real-time data handling performance. Early testing with Tencent, one of the world’s largest Internet service providers based in China, has shown that a large cluster of the new IBM OpenPOWER servers using Mellanox interconnect technology was able to run a data-intensive workload three times faster than its former x86-based infrastructure. Moreover, this result was achieved while reducing the total number of servers used by two-thirds. Given the significant cost benefits of using fewer servers to deliver faster performance, the company is now integrating the new servers into its hyperscale data center for big data workloads.

These upcoming results and performance improvements will lead to a better user experience for demanding integrated mobile platforms such as Tencent’s highly successful diversified services including QQ, Weixin/WeChat for communications; Qzone for social networking; QQ Game Platform for online games; and Tencent News for information and Tencent Video for video content. Mobile apps are growing at staggering rates in China, fueled by the online consumer that almost certainly has a smartphone or two.

From clicks to likes, today’s networked world is creating vast amounts of data at a significantly increasing rate. Combine that with exponentially increasing internal data and you get the data explosion commonly known as Big Data. The ability to translate this vast array of structured and unstructured input into usable business intelligence provides a key competitive advantage. Mellanox with its vast portfolio of adapters, switches, gateways, and specific acceleration technologies implement the world’s fastest and most robust end-to-end networking solutions for a complete, high-performance Big Data analytics infrastructure.

About John Biebelhausen

John Biebelhausen is Director, OEM Marketing at Mellanox Technologies, Inc. Before joining Mellanox, John had an extensive career as a Marketing Executive in a range of technology companies including IBM, Lenovo, Dell and Sharp Labs. John was a founder in multiple start-up companies pioneering Direct Relationship Marketing and SaaS applications. John holds a MS of Science in Finance from Colorado State University and a BBA in Economics and Finance from Kent State University.

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