Can a Plug and Play Data Lake Save the EMC Federation

Big data is new oil, the new gold, the new kale (wait … kale?). Honest to God, we’ve heard the latter one said.

Regardless of what analogy you use for the mass quantities of information your company stores or accesses, chances are good that it isn’t gleaning much insight from it yet.

And that’s not because CEO’s fail to see the value. In fact, a January survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit reveals that 48 percent of executives believe big data is a useful tool. And another 23 percent predict big data will revolutionize the way businesses are managed.

If this is the case, then why isn’t big data more broadly deployed?

Some claim companies don’t know how or where to get started — or think the time to value is too long.

The EMC Federation (EMC 2 + VMware + Pivotal + RSA + VCE) hopes to change that perception. Later this morning, it will unveil its EMC Federation Business Data Lake solution. Its promise is to enable organizations to realize the value of big data analytics in as little as one week as opposed to months.

Gambling on Synergies

It’s a big promise, and it’s one that EMC Federation boss Joe Tucci believes his company is in a unique position to make.

After all, he’s had his doubters on Wall Street of late. They believe that EMC will render more value for shareholders if the Federation is split up. But Tucci, chairman of the board of directors, president and chief executive officer of EMC Corp., insists that the synergies between the member companies will yield better returns.

If he’s right, the Federation Business Data Lake would be a prime example. It’s a new mix-and-match hardware and software solution from EMC, Pivotal and VMware that he claims will allow organizations to quickly and securely deploy big data at scale across the enterprise, allowing organizations to ingest, store, analyze, surface and act on big data.

Optimal value can’t be gleaned using Federation products alone, so the EMC Federation Business Data Lake will support Hadoop distros from both Cloudera and Hortonworks and feature what it boasts will be seamless integration and interoperability with popular analytics platforms, including SAS, Tableau and others.

But having all the right stuff isn’t of much value unless you have the people who know how to use it, build applications on it and glean actionable insights from it.

EMC realizes this and will offer a full suite of services and education programs to help customers at every point on the big data maturity curve. The Cloud Foundry dojo we wrote about last week is an example.

Welcome Newbies

The EMC Federation Business Data Lake team also plans to offer companies that are new to big data or looking to scale existing investments a quick start to value. It plans to recommend data based on past behaviors and offer it up in a consumable way to deliver insight to both people and applications, thereby enabling timely decisions and actions, it promises.

For the many, many enterprises and smaller businesses that have yet to get busy with big data and for those who never went forward after the proof of concept stage, the EMC Federation Business Data Lake solution might seem like the answer to a prayer. And it may be.

Tucci seems to be betting on it. After all, he’s been talking about the possibilities that big data, mobile, social and cloud can bring about for many, many years and both his customers and his investors have been waiting for big returns.

The time for gleaning meaningful, actionable insight from big data and analytics in short order is upon us. The stakes are high and EMC’s chance to deliver is now.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by familymwr.