Legacy networks and the big data challenge

Legacy networks and the big data challenge
May 31, 2016  |  BY

As we creep farther into the 21st century, businesses have come to realize how big data can be a huge catalyst for growth. Extremely large data sets are being analyzed within seconds to show patterns regarding how buyers behave, be it B2B or B2C, brick and mortar or online, tablet or smart phone.

From thousands and thousands of processors, disparate data is transformed into actionable intelligence; companies can derive practical value from otherwise abstract numbers. For example, a thorough analysis of large data sets can take the guesswork of out major business decisions. They can discover correlations that couldn’t be found with traditional data mining models, allowing them to identify business trends and adjust accordingly around product development, research techniques, manufacturing methods, even how they do their marketing and branding.

And once they complete the analysis and execution, they see the benefits that never go out of fashion, regardless of the size of data: Employee efficiency, reduced costs, increased revenue and less risk.

Big data is possible because of all the available devices that capture so much granular information. Think about it – we now have mobile, aerial, software logs, cameras, microphones, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers and wireless sensor networks.

But in order to have all of the sensors required to capture all that data, companies must have the right network in place. Every piece of data must have a clear, reliable path back to the data center.

In theory big data is a no-brainer. But companies with legacy networks face some challenges in making this promise a reality.

Big data can test the limits of a network, in both speed and capacity. It’s important to remember that the critical challenge isn’t so much how much data you handle, it’s the strength of the network architecture. That’s why the network needs to be designed in a way that’s secure and scalable, with the ability to accommodate heavy application loads. If not, the network can crash, leaving you scrambling and your customers buying from someone else.

You might be thinking, “Wait, my legacy network works fine for efforts like cloud computing, SaaS, social networking and video conferencing.” That might be true. But handling the traffic and applications of big data is an entirely different game.

Consider that by some estimates, there will be over 20 billion (yes, BILLION) devices connected to the Internet by the time we reach 2020. If you think things have drastically changed from 2010 to 2015, and how much more data we have to work with now, picture how enterprises will handle data in 2020. How will they gather it, manage it, store it, act on it?

We understand that you may not be able to afford a network nimble enough to accommodate the big data era. Just be sure that your network is strong enough to handle whatever big data plans you carry out. Because if your network breaks, it might not just break customer trust, it could break your entire business.