Is big data truly transforming, or is history repeating itself?


While the exploration of possibilities enabled by the continuing sophistication of tools for handling big data has some seeing brave new worlds on the horizon, other analysts and developers are perceiving it as yet another case of history repeating itself.

“As smart as humans are, trends repeat themselves,” said Abhishek Mehta (pictured), chief executive officer of Tresata Inc.

Mehta joined John Furrier (@furrier) and Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), cohosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, at BigData SV 2017 in San Jose, CA. He shared his thoughts on how some parts of the big data move are reiterations of previous changes, which parts he saw as genuinely new and what it means for businesses. (*Disclosure below.)

“Conversations on ‘how can you leverage cheaper, better, faster technology to solve an unanswered problem?’ [are] becoming interesting,” Mehta said. “I think the basics haven’t changed, though. … Basics around every technology trend remain the same.”

And while he acknowledged the high cost of accumulating, storing and managing data that had been present in decades past, Mehta was firm on the value of big data to businesses across all industries. “The more data you have, and if you can process and extract intelligence from it … you can make a lot of money from it,” he said.

Mehta also shared his expectations that enterprise software would see the development of “brand new industries,” and though he felt that those would be interesting, he was more drawn to the question of how value would be established in those emerging fields.

“If the building blocks are commoditized, how do you add value in the building block? … Owning data and domain knowledge,” he said. “If you can combine deep domain expertise to build an advanced application to solve business problems, people don’t want to know if the data set’s stored in a free edge DFS system or in some other system or quantum computing. People don’t care!”

Action layers

Mehta also explained Tresata’s view of the three layers in technology fabric, covering the hardware operating system and the data operating system, but giving most focus to the last layer.

“I think there’s a new layer emerging … we call it the analytics operating system. The data layer will commoditize as much as the hardware operating system … commoditized. The data operating system fight is moot. Metadata should not be charged for; mass data management, draining the swamp, whatever you want to call it, every single thing in the data operating system is a commodity.”

The interesting ‘action’ is going to come in the analytics operating system, “where you are now automating hardcore … finding intelligence questions, using deep learning, AI, or whatever other buzzword the industry dreams up in the next five years … the layer that automates the extraction of intelligence from massive amounts of data sitting in the data layer, no matter who owns it,” Mehta commented.

And as he explained, Tresata is no longer being interested in being a data owner, but is instead focusing on building the tools for the gold rush on data.

“Today, the best we can do with leveraging incredibly smart machines’ algorithms at scale … is augmenting humans. I do fundamentally believe … that the era where software will automate a tremendous amount of business processes, in all industries, is upon us,” he concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of BigData SV 2017. (*Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE are sponsored. Sponsors have no editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE