Big data continues to be one of the hottest tech trends across the enterprise landscape. Businesses may have been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data they were producing at first, but are now looking at how to use such large amounts of data. Trends, stories and future indicators can all be found with big data analytics. It is no surprise, however, that such large volumes need to be stored and handled somewhere. This is where cloud computing can lend a hand. A company utilizing a sound cloud service can find those trends in big data.

What exactly is it?
Big data may sound like a buzzword, but it entails so much more. At its core definition, big data is a massive volume of diverse, structured – data found in fixed fields such as spreadsheets – and unstructured data. Almost any device produces some type of data, from text documents and images to video. Yet, enterprises struggle collecting and managing big data because they do not have the latest hardware, software, processing power or any combination of those factors.

Examples of big data can be the records a store keeps on customers, including everything from contact information to a history of sales transactions. Many businesses analyze this information to better serve customers. Coupons may be individually generated or a curated list of items may be created to entice potential purchases. 

Above all, there is a lot of big data. A 2011 study conducted by the Global Information Industry Center contained an eye-opening estimation. Enterprise server workloads double roughly every two years. Researchers said by 2024, the the amount of data processed across the globe, if portrayed as stacks of books, would expand more than 4.37 light-years to Alpha Centauri, the closest star system in our galaxy.

Power of big data
The wealth of knowledge produced from big data analytics is phenomenal. According to The Wall Street Journal, for instance, real-estate agents are using big data to target potential clients. They are achieving this by purchasing data subscriptions and forming partnerships with startups specializing in using metrics to find a specific group of individuals – in this case, buyers or sellers. Big data has even made its presence felt during the last two U.S. presidential elections, and Forbes contributor H.O. Maycotte wonders if big data will determine the next president.

The cloud factor
According to a research paper from Intel, big data analytics and cloud computing are two initiatives for IT departments to prioritize. This makes sense because the scope and flexibility of the cloud work almost perfectly with big data. Enterprises struggling to store information can use a strong cloud provider to utilize an infrastructure-as-a-software platform. By doing so, companies can increase storage needs, processing power and store analytical tools on virtualized servers.

It is imperative enterprises find the right cloud solution because the big data trend shows no signs of slowing down. Gartner, as cited in the Intel report, said from 2011 to the end of 2015, big data will have grown by 800 percent.

Private clouds are the preferred method for hosted data storage on an enterprise scale because of the cloud's continuous improvements. Security is much stronger and organizations have more governance and control over data stored in private clouds. 

A company must utilize the advantages of cloud computing to handle all the needs big data collection requires. The two areas will help companies identify key information to serve customers better.