The popularity of Big Data lies within its broad definition of employing high volume, velocity, and variety data sets that are difficult to manage and extract value from. Unsurprisingly, most businesses can identify themselves as facing now or in future Big Data challenges and opportunities. This therefore is not a new issue yet it has a new quality as it has been exacerbated in recent years. Cheaper storage and ubiquitous data collection and availability of third party data outpaced the capabilities of traditional data warehouses and processing solutions. Businesses investigating Big Data regularly recognize that they lack the capacity to process and store it adequately. This manifests either in an incapability to utilise existing big data sets to the fullest or expand their current data strategy with additional data.
Today, as a consequence of the Big Data trend, Businesses can turn to Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) solutions to bridge the storage and processing gap. Interestingly, a definition and classification of BDaaS is missing today and various types of services compete in the space with very different business models and foci. Businesses investigating Big Data and BDaaS, however, would be well served to review the types of services and how they align with their business goals before drilling down and evaluating instances of these services. What are the different types of BDaaS available?
Three layers of cloud computing as a service
Big Data as a Service sometimes is wrongly equated with Hadoop as a Service and cloud computing. Public and hybrid cloud offerings are most rapidly developing, which is natural due to the sizeable market accessible to them and the ability to leverage existing technologies and infrastructures. Hadoop is currently the most prominent distributed storage and compute environment. The two as a result are the most popular technologies enabling and support most of BDaaS in the market yet they don’t define it.
Big Data as a Service is in the company of countless as-a-Service offerings. The most significant ones that allow us to classify any subsequent services are threefold. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), e.g. virtual machines, networks, storage, or servers, is the most basic building block and includes anything (real or virtual) you would expect inside a data center. One level up exists the Platform as a Service (PaaS) which includes commonly employed software like web and database servers, or Hadoop and its ecosystem. Next up is the Software as a Service (SaaS) which are still generic but more user facing services like web email, content or customer relationship management systems. Finally, beyond SaaS are usually domain or business specific applications.
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