Chapter 5. Real-Time Big Data Analytics

Oceans of Data, Grains of Time

Imagine that it’s 2007. You’re a top executive at a major search engine company, and Steve Jobs has just unveiled the iPhone. You immediately ask yourself, “Should we shift resources away from some of our current projects so we can create an experience expressly for iPhone users?” Then you begin wondering, “What if it’s all hype? Steve is a great showman…how can we predict if the iPhone is a fad or the next big thing?”

The good news is that you’ve got plenty of data at your disposal. The bad news is that you have no way of querying that data and discovering the answer to a critical question: How many people are accessing my sites from their iPhones?

Back in 2007, you couldn’t even ask the question without upgrading the schema in your data warehouse, an expensive process that might have taken two months. Your only choice was to wait and hope that a competitor didn’t eat your lunch in the meantime. ...

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