The Key Role Hadoop Plays in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing

Hadoop is an open source platform that helps users organize and store complex data. In a world where information is invaluable, Hadoop offers a way to store nearly unlimited amounts of data and pull meaningful statistics to make informed decisions.

The Origin of Hadoop


Image via Flickr by Intel Free Press

Early on, Google realized the challenge present in indexing data from all over the Internet. The solution came in the form of the Google File System (GFS) that stores information across distributed machines. When Google released a research paper detailing the GFS, developers Doug Cutting and Mike Cafarella snagged the concept for their open source search engine project known as Nutch. A technology spinoff of the Nutch project, Hadoop utilizes multiple servers to provide massive data warehousing capabilities on a small budget.

In a 2011 interview, Cloudera CEO Mike Olsen explained, "The Hadoop platform was designed to solve problems where you have a lot of data — perhaps a mixture of complex and structured data — and it doesn't fit nicely into tables. It's for situations where you want to run analytics that are deep and computationally extensive, like clustering and targeting."

Hadoop's Architecture

Image via Flickr by Philip Kromer

Hadoop operates across multiple servers that are connected in what is known as a cluster. This design allows users to backup important information in a cost-effective manner. If one server goes offline, Hadoop pulls the data from one of the known copies stored in a separate location.

This cluster design is also one of Hadoop's greatest strengths. Users can continuously grow their storage space cheaply and efficiently simply by adding new servers. Where data was once discarded due to a lack of storage space, companies are now able to hang on to every piece of information for future use. These massive stores of data create a growing need for business intelligence professionals who know how to interpret the available information and use it to identify business trends.

Technology expert Brian Proffitt explains that with Hadoop, "All data becomes equal and equally available, so business scenarios can be run with raw data at any time as needed, without limitation or assumption."

Maximizing the Potential of Hadoop

As a mass storage solution, Hadoop offers stunning results. When the data-analytics company Neustar implemented a Hadoop system for data storage, they went from tracking 60 days of historical data to 18 months’ worth. Professionals who have a keen understanding of Hadoop’s unique idiosyncrasies can produce impressive results for nearly any industry. It’s important to note Hadoop is not a complete solution for data processing but rather a powerful tool to add to your kit. Using Hadoop along with other tools is the best way to get the full range of benefits available from this platform.

Beyond the Technology

It is vital for analytics and business intelligence professionals to learn the critical thinking skills behind the utilization of tools such as Hadoop. This is where advanced programs such as an online MS in Business Intelligence & Analytics from Saint Joseph’s University can make a big impact on professional growth. Though Hadoop is being discussed in DSS 630 (Database) and DSS 640 (Enterprise Data), the real education is learning the methodology behind the application. While the technology itself is paving new paths in the industry, those who have a solid foundation of how to use any emergent tool will be best prepared for a long career.

To keep up with this technology and other advancements, a Master of Science in Business Intelligence & Analytics can deliver the training and insight you need to take your career to the executive level. Request more information below today!

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