7 New Offerings: Oracle Steps Up Its Big Data Game

7 New Offerings: Oracle Steps Up Its Big Data Game

For any big data effort to succeed, an organization needs to figure out how to combine the right data from the right sources to generate the right insights to achieve its goals. Transactional applications might hold data on customer purchases, for instance. But their browsing patterns, loyalty interactions and responses to tweeted offers are probably in web-based systems. You need to pull all the pieces together to solve the puzzle and exploit new opportunities.

Oracle understands this problem well, as evidenced by the four new products and three new services they’ve announced in recent weeks.

The new products include:

  1. Oracle Big Data Discovery—variously dubbed “the visual face of Hadoop” and “the foundation for data innovation,” it offers a straightforward, unified way for business users to explore data from multiple sources and then analyze it and share the actionable results… in minutes, says Oracle. The benefits include radically accelerated time-to-value for big data “projects” plus increased participation by a wider range of business users, adding up to bigger insights all around.
  2. Oracle GoldenGate for Big Data—a Hadoop-based tool that supports streaming of real-time, unstructured data from multiple transaction systems straight into popular big data systems like Apache Hadoop, Hive, HBase and Flume. Essentially it replicates data between systems in real-time in your choice of forms, without impacting source system performance.
  3. Oracle Big Data SQL 1.1—said to offer a query performance boost of up to 40% over previous versions.
  4. Oracle NoSQL Database 3.2.5—which includes several new features including new APIs, as well as improved security, usability and performance.

Together these new products “further Oracle’s vision to enable Hadoop, NoSQL, and SQL technologies to work together and be deployed securely in any model—whether public cloud, private cloud or an on-premises infrastructure.” It’s all about “operationalizing insights” by integrating new data sources with existing infrastructure, applications and databases.

The new big data services, all cloud-based are geared toward helping companies leverage big data specifically for marketing:

  1. Oracle Data as a Service for Marketing is aimed at generating sales leads. It offers a staggering 300 million profiles of business users and companies, which can be used to prospect for new business-to-business customers as well as improve your insight into your customer base and drive smarter cross-channel marketing.
  2. Oracle Data as a Service for Customer Intelligence is designed to provide a clearer picture of customer feedback on products and services, as well as offer insights into emerging trends or customer concerns. Among other data sources, it uses public information from 700 million social networking messages that Oracle collects daily.
  3. Oracle Marketing Cloud for Student Engagement offers templates that universities and others can use to attract students and improve retention among enrolled students. It essentially packages for the higher education vertical a range of existing Oracle cloud services. Similar packages are already available for a wide range of verticals including manufacturing, insurance, entertainment, nonprofits and many others.

These new offerings join two recent Oracle acquisitions (I know I promised I’d stop at seven, sorry…):

  1. The BlueKai platform, “the industry’s leading cloud-based big data platform that enables companies to personalize online, offline and mobile marketing campaigns…”
  2. Datalogix, whose technology “connects offline purchasing data to digital media to improve audience targeting and measure sales impact.”

All these offerings are aimed at helping Oracle customers advance their big data capabilities faster and with greater ease and success. “More people want to use Oracle software without having to run Oracle software,” said Thomas Kurian, Oracle’s VP of product development, at his Oracle OpenWorld 2014 keynote.

Is your IT department looking to respond to business demands for big data analytics that wring new insights and competitive momentum from your Oracle databases? Do you have the expertise you need in-house to address these new challenges while continuing to maintain current databases and applications? Contact Buda Consulting to discuss options for augmenting your core team with an expert Oracle DBA partner that can help with new demands or backstop everyday processes. 


Still Think Your Business is Too Small for Big Data?

Just because your business isn’t that big doesn’t mean you don’t have “big data” issues or a need for big data-style analytics to remain competitive. “Big data” is a relative term—relative to needs and capabilities for making business decisions, that is. Nearly every organization, whatever its size, will sooner or later reach the point where the volume, variety and velocity of the data it needs to analyze exceeds its storage and/or computational capacity, such that accurate and timely decision-making is impacted.

At that point, you have a big data challenge/opportunity. You can throw your data aside and fail to leverage it. Or you can find a cost-effective way to apply analytics to give your company new insights and answers that will help you compete and grow.

Understanding how to manage and analyze data to meet your evolving needs is critical, because big data analytics aren’t one-size-fits-all. You’ll potentially need to capture and integrate diverse sources of structured and unstructured data across everything from standalone department-level transactional systems to social media feeds to web forms to smart devices to external vendors’ services. Once you’ve maneuvered all this data so that query it, business users can begin to exploit it, both in planned and newly perceived ways. 

As you begin thinking about a big data analytics application, top-level planning considerations include:

  • Focus on business value first. What questions do you need to answer? Where does the data reside that you’ll need to process. In blogs, Facebook and other social media? In your customer transactions? Do you want to cut costs? Predict consumer buying patterns? Accelerate time-to-market for new innovations? Forecast supply and demand? Let business needs drive the technical approach.
  • Analytics capability is the bottom line. How will you determine what data is relevant and how it should be extracted, stored, transformed, etc.? If you think you have “too much data,” the real problem is that your analytics environment isn’t properly tuned.
  • Rely on data architecture best practices. “Big” shouldn’t mean “out of control.” Whatever the technology and implementation involved, keep your Oracle DBAs in the loop so that data movement and transformation are effectively planned for and handled.
  • Make sure you have the right resources in place to deliver the business value you’re looking for. Many companies don’t have in-house expertise to manage data effectively, for example. Data analytics expertise is also scarce. Augmenting your in-house skills with an outsourced Oracle DBA can yield the most value in the shortest time at the lowest cost.

Once you know what you want to accomplish you can more effectively plan for implementation. Any big data initiative involves the acquisition, transformation and storage of large volumes of data from multiple source systems, which is then analyzed.

Where will you get the source data you need? How will you handle data queries? How will you optimize performance? How will you manage testing, and against what data? Will you need more network capacity to handle the data movement? How do you integrate the new analytics solution with any existing data warehouse or other key data sources? As your new capabilities are used more and more, how do you monitor performance and plan for growth?

These are some of the central implementation questions your team will need to answer before your big data “challenge” can become an “opportunity” for decision-makers. Planning at the IT infrastructure level is, of course, critical—but knowing what business questions you want to answer should be the driving force behind the initiative.

To ensure your big data analytics application can generate reports quickly, in appropriate formats, which provide the insights your business demands, contact Buda Consulting. A free consultation with us can be an ideal way to explore your big data analytics challenges, with an eye toward best-practice data modeling, database design, performance and more.


Is Your Oracle DBA a Big Data DBA? 3 Key Skills Can Help.

Is Your Oracle DBA a Big Data DBA? 3 Key Skills Can Help.

Does your organization have key Oracle DBA skills that can help you to derive value from big data? And what is “big data” anyhow? Does it just relate to big (like petabyte-sized) databases? Or is there more to it?

Besides being simply “big,” big data has two other key attributes:

  • It can also include a heterogeneous mix of structured and unstructured data types, and
  • It tends to come at you hard and fast!

The business challenge with big data is to figure out which data elements within the big data “deluge” are of value to you, and how to most effectively capture and analyze those elements. As the volume of available data grows and the number and types of questions the business wants to ask also expands, new “big data administration” skills also come into play.

An expert Oracle DBA can help with harnessing big data by creating efficient ways to make critical data available to business processes. As I see it, three emerging “key skills” are especially useful in this regard: integration, reporting and Hadoop.

One: Integration

Perhaps the most vital “big data DBA” skill set involves integrating data from a wide range of sources. In the case of big data, successful integrations look beyond mechanics to understand what the business needs, what problem(s) it is looking to solve, and why the data has potential value. Effective communication with business stakeholders is key to success in this area. Oracle Big Data Connectors can help by making it easier to acquire and pre-process data with Apache Hadoop and perform integrated analysis within Oracle Database.

Two: Reporting

“Big data DBAs” also face new challenges with reporting and data visualization. Finding the nuggets of gold within the big data rubble pile means developing reports that can be efficiently and effectively analyzed by business stakeholders, often across multiple parameters and with different goals in mind. Points of focus here include creating the appropriate data structures, and maintaining satisfactory performance. Tuning queries for specific reporting functions means going beyond typical DBA activities to deeply understand the business context and match business needs to the different visualization and reporting tools you have available.

Three: Hadoop

Apache Hadoop is an open-source software framework for storing and processing large-scale datasets across clusters of inexpensive servers running in parallel. Hadoop is a robust and highly scalable platform that enables businesses to run applications against petabytes of data. Hadoop also facilitates cost-effective storage and fast, flexible querying of both structured and unstructured data sources. It’s designed to enable companies to store “all” their data for later processing. Big data DBAs are getting into Hadoop in a big way, because there are multiple ways for Oracle shops to leverage Hadoop-based data and integrate it with Oracle Database for maximum benefit.

Of course, each organization will have unique challenges and opportunities when working with big data. Proper project planning and database design will be central to success and rapid time-to-value. Contact Buda Consulting to talk about how we can support your business as it moves to embrace big data.


Is Your Oracle DBA a Big Data DBA? 3 Key Skills Can Help.

Does Big Data Make Oracle DBAs Irrelevant—or Irreplaceable?

Profiting from big data means changing how your organization views data. Big data is often unstructured, and wringing value from it demands advanced analytics. Does this mean that conventional Oracle DBAs, with their relational database focus, are irrelevant in this new world order? Or do big data challenges make the Oracle DBA role more vital than ever to business operations?

Personally, I think any claims that Oracle DBAs are diminishing in relevance to today’s enterprise are spurious. How can data experts not be increasingly important when companies are accumulating and storing more and more and more data—and keeping more and more of it “live” and accessible across petabytes of ever-cheaper disk space in both their own data centers and in cloud storage?

An Oracle DBA is not just a data administrator, but also a data management expert. While some have more experience than others with managing unstructured data, most Oracle DBAs have valuable data integration, data quality assurance, database performance troubleshooting and analytics/reporting skills.

Organizations looking to maximize the return on their big data investment need to make the right choices upfront to point them toward success. What big data framework would work best in your environment? What tools can best drive the analytics you need? Oracle DBAs have the “data design” skills firms need help build the foundation for a big data solution.

Beyond that, Oracle DBAs understand how to manage data, and how to translate business requirements into reporting and forecasting capabilities. They also are likely to have a nose for “data exploration”—identifying and capturing key data elements. Indeed, in many organizations Oracle DBAs, both employees and consultants, are the people building the new skills that it will take to harness big data.

At the same time their criticality as a knowledge resource is increasing, Oracle DBAs are becoming more visible within the enterprise. Data is now seen as an opportunity and a source of business value. How can you collect and collate data to support better decision-making and better understand our customers? Ask an Oracle DBA.

So while newer roles like “data scientist” or data analyst might seem hot and hip, the Oracle DBA is far from outmoded. The DBA role is certainly changing to accommodate big data skill sets. But in many companies focusing on big data, the Oracle DBA becoming more important than ever. 

Contact Buda Consulting to learn how Oracle DBA outsourcing can help your organization derive more intelligence from its data.

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