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As the year 2014 bid us goodbye, let’s uncover some of the key trends that dominated the big data and hadoop arena during the year. There were some key themes that came to the fore and considering big data is dominating the technology investments now, these trends are indicative of the path that the entire information technology world is taking.
(1) Real time was the flavor of the year:
Much has been written about real time big data analytics or rather, the lack of it in traditional MapReduce world. There were able products in the form of Apache Tez, Cloudera Impala, IBM BigSQL, Apache Drill and Pivotal HAWQ that were unleashed in 2013. And as the adage goes, 2013 was history in 2014. Apache Spark took center stage and ensured that everyone talked about near-real-time at least. Apache Storm also got its associated lime light alongside and the rest in the streaming pack within industry. Real time big data is here and it is here to get better with each product’s release.
(2) R&D came to the fore:
Not just Google, Microsoft, IBM, SAP and the likes, many other exciting labs are coming to the party and investing huge dollars in big data R&D. Machine learning is passe as the real interest shifts to deep learning. Backed by years of research interest in artificial intelligence, neural networks and more, the R&D in deep learning has found a new zest. Large industry players like AT&T Research as well as emerging companies like Impetus Technologies continued to invest in big data warehouse research and brought in senior executives from other companies (like IBM) to ensure they research it right and develop it hard.
(3) The big boys kept struggling:
Big data has never been a ground that has been dominated by the big boys of IT. Rather the new kids on the block, Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR have dominated the space and continued to do so in 2014. With a billion $ IPO under Hortonworks’ belt, things have never been so good for emerging product companies in the technology sector. These new companies are here to stay and give many sleepless nights to the sales execs of established product companies.
(4) It’s a man’s world:
Strange but true – whether you visit a conference, seminar or development shop of big data, there have hardly been any women in the arena. Call it the invisible ceiling within big data industry but with an exception of Anjul Bhambhri, it is rare to see a woman dominating the scene. Even the proportion of women developers/architects/managers seems to be abysmally low – something we hope to see corrected in 2015 as more people take up Hadoop skills.
(5) The shift in services world:
Ah, the cream of the revenue pie – professional services and consulting. Not just the product world, the services world has shown some interesting trends in emergence of new players. Big data services unlike traditional analytics is still dominated by specialized players rather than CMMi certified IT majors. However, the lure of huge services headcount continued to deceive players like Cloudera who partnered with traditional vendors where the focus still is unfortunately on cost arbitrage by laying off experienced staff. By 2015 end, we should be able to see some new big names on the horizon. These companies do not have armies of certified professionals but rather have been establishing themselves by delivering successful big data specialized solutions from small experienced teams.