The 451 Group has recently published a spotlight report examining the trends that we see shaping the data management segment, including data volume, complexity, real-time processing demands and advanced analytics, as well as a perspective that no longer treats the enterprise data warehouse as the only source of trusted data for generating business intelligence.
The report examines these trends and introduces the term ‘total data’ to describe the total opportunity and challenge provided by new approaches to data management.
Johann Cruyff, exponent of total football, inspiration for total data. Source: Wikimedia. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0716-0314 / Mittelstädt, Rainer / CC-BY-SA
Total data is not simply another term for big data; it describes a broader approach to data management, managing the storage and processing of big data to deliver the necessary BI.
Total data involves processing any data that might be applicable to the query at hand, whether that data is structured or unstructured, and whether it resides in the data warehouse, or a distributed Hadoop file system, or archived systems, or any operational data source – SQL or NoSQL – and whether it is on-premises or in the cloud.
In the report we explain how total data is influencing modern data management with respect to four key trends. To summarize:
- beyond big: total data is about processing all your data, regardless of the size of the data set
- beyond data: total data is not just about being able to store data, but the delivery of actionable results based on analysis of that data
- beyond the data warehouse: total data sees organisations complementing data warehousing with Hadoop, and its associated projects
- beyond the database: total data includes the emergence of private data clouds, and the expansion of data sources suitable for analytics beyond the database
The term ‘total data’ is inspired ‘total football,’ the soccer tactic that emerged in the early 1970s and enabled Ajax of Amsterdam to dominate European football in the early part of the decade and The Netherlands to reach the finals of two consecutive World Cups, having failed to qualify for the four preceding competitions.
Unlike previous approaches that focused on each player having a fixed role to play, total football encouraged individual players to switch positions depending on what was happening around them while ensuring that the team as a whole fulfilled all the required tactical positions.
Although total data is not meant to be directly analogous to total football, we do see a connection with the latter’s fluidity that is enabled by no longer requiring players to fulfill specific roles, and total data’s desire to break down dependencies on the enterprise data warehouse as the single version of the truth, while letting go of assumptions that the relational database offers a one-size-fits-all answer to data management.
Total data is about more than data volumes. It’s about taking a broad view of available data sources and processing and analytic technologies, bringing in data from multiple sources, and having the flexibility to respond to changing business requirements.
A more substantial explanation of the concept of total data and its impact on information and infrastructure management methods and technologies is available here for 451 Group clients. Non-clients can also apply for trial access.