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How the cloud and BIG data solve peak demand and storage dilemmas

We’ve all sat in traffic jams wishing the road would widen temporarily in order to get around the blockage. Not possible, of course, in the physical world. However the virtual world is capable of making this happen – scaling up on demand when there is too much traffic and shrinking back when there is only passing trade.

A few years ago planning IT systems always had to take into account peak demands. This meant building into the system extra hardware, costing extra money, that would be used to support the enterprise during those short, but important peak times. Now with cloud technology available, those days are over. You pay for what you actually use, when you need it and there’s no shortage of supply.

Marketing managers planning promotional offers or flash sales see this move as a blessing. The goal is to get the customer to place the order and the quicker they can do this, the better. If a valued customer is rejected, or held too long before being able to complete their order because the system is overloaded, they may not return – resulting not just in a lost sale, but a lost customer too.

Storage is another challenge - pictures, videos, customer data, product catalogues all add up quickly and although much is stored on streaming servers, many files will still end up on your system. So scaling of your disk capacity becomes important and the cloud helps here too as storage size is the concern only of the cloud operator – not you. The sheer volume of data generated by organisations has led to the term BIG Data, information that is challenging to manage with ordinary database tools.

It is, of course, crucial to be able to control and analyse customer data in real-time and to ensure information is readily accessible, but equally companies don’t want to ‘pollute’ their transactional databases with it. That’s why BIG Data and the technologies that support it have become so important.  BIG Data helps organisations to paint a better picture of customer interactions with the enterprise. It enables a clearer understanding of what customers want to achieve, however they interact with the enterprise, and it ensures that relevant content is delivered to them quickly and expediently. Keeping the data flow running, even at peak times, means you get to react to changing trends as they happen and customers get what they want when they want it.