Big Data and Unfairness of Life
Some innovations just have “it”. They seemingly emerge from out of nowhere and then, suddenly, everywhere you turn, there they are. The Cloud is one of those innovations. It’s almost like it’s ubiquitous. The other day my mom, for pete’s sake, asked me what I thought about it. Hey, I’m in the data center business so naturally, like you, I love the Cloud. At least that’s what I say in public (and to my mom). Honestly though, isn’t the Cloud becoming a little like that kid in school that the teachers loved because they knew all the answers, that we pretended to like but secretly wanted to beat the snot out of at recess? I mean really, who is responsible for the Cloud’s PR because I want to hire that firm. I turn on my TV some “tech expert” is talking about it. I try to read an industry website and it’s mentioned in every other headline. I was at the grocery store the other week and the cover of People Magazine announced that the Cloud had just broken up with Jennifer Aniston—“The Cloud and Jen have mutually agreed to part ways but they continue to respect each others work and will remain friends”—I didn’t even know they were dating. Okay, I made that up but you know what I mean. Certainly this onslaught of “Cloudmania” seemed to be the result of its innate charisma, magnetism and charm–kind of like George Clooney. Well you can imagine my surprise when I conducted a Google search and found that the number of listings for “Cloud+Data Center” (17,100,000) was dwarfed by its more phlegmatic competitor for media hype, Big Data, by a factor of 3:1.
To paraphrase a line in a favorite movie of mine I asked myself, “What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports was going on here?” Big Data certainly gets a good deal of exposure within our industry but did you ever think that “Big Data+Data Center” would result in over 58 million links? We’re talking Lady Gaga territory here. Naturally, this begs the question as to why, despite this obvious disparity in levels of interest, the Cloud continues to bask in the moon glow of thousands of love struck data center operators while Big Data garners all the media attention of the proverbial red-headed step child? Some of you more conspiracy minded readers might posit that there is an agenda behind this case of outright favoritism but you would be wrong. Unfortunately, this is just another example of the unfairness of life. We’ve all dealt with it, even if we don’t want to admit it. Remember the girl who turned you down for the prom and then went with “that guy?”. Unfair. The great band that was never discovered but Gino Vanelli was, unfair. Your brother got Dad’s Camero while you drove the Pontiac that only ran for six months. Unfair. You Buddhists in the audience will soothe your selves with karmic images of returning in the next life as a cross between Bill Gates and Brad Pitt, but for most of us, someone has a finger on the other side of the big scale of life.
This is why I personally have come to prefer Big Data. It reflects more of the human element than the Cloud. The Cloud is the opposite of Prince. When he changed his name to a symbol the merged an ankh with a right turn sign it never stuck. However, when ASP/SaaS/thin client collectively changed their names to the Cloud a star was born. If the Cloud was born via YouTube like Justin Beiber, Big Data is the hard-scrabble survivor that has risen up from the metaphoric “streets” to claim its technical superiority. It’s the jeans wearing every man as compared to the “fancy pants” Cloud. In short, Big Data is us: the collective universe of spurned prom date askers, undiscovered band members and Pontiac drivers. I, for one, feel that Big Data should revel in its quite strength and anonymity and be the John Wayne of data center technologies. Let the Cloud continue to hob nob with the great and near great while Big Data quietly crushes it in the level of interest generated by “real” technology followers like you and me. And on top of everything else, I’ll bet that Big Data wouldn’t even want to date Jennifer Aniston.