Big Data has become quite the talking point in recent years as databases swell to previously unimaginable sizes. Google now wades into the enterprise battle offering its BigQuery solution that requires no BigIron hardware or BigBucks software.

Big Data = Big Problems

Managing massive data stores/sets/bases with the likes of Hadoop MapReduce and other solutions is one way to deal with the problem of waistline busting amounts of information. But that's another set of applications and services for someone to setup, install, run and manage.

Wouldn't it all be easier if you could just tie your data into a service that provided the results without any of that effort. That seems to be what Google is proposing with BigQuery. The service has been in testing since November but goes live for business use now, as noted in a Google Enterprise post.

Examples of the uses for BigQuery include a web application for game developers to gain real-time insights into user behavior and a cloud-based application to help a chain of resorts analyze customer reservations, optimize marketing and maximize revenue. As a step to commoditizing big data, BigQuery looks like a leap forward.

Under the BigHood

BigQuery is a typical Google service, activate it on Google's API console then access it via a BigQuery browser tool or a UI or REST interface on a pay-per-use basis (with the first 100GB free per month). With all Google's cloud processing power at your disposal you can throw many terabytes of data at it, all protected with multiple layers of security, replicated across multiple data centers and easily exported. You should probably still read the policy page for the fine print.

Note that BigQuery can't handle data from transactional (OLTP) applications, but it does come with Google's typical enterprise 99.9% uptime SLA. Naturally, major IT departments will want a full and thorough investigation before committing any data, but BigQuery should appeal to the smaller, nimbler firms who still find themselves drowning in data that need to get answers from.

Expect some response to BigQuery from Amazon who's own Elastic services have been churning away at data for years, and the enterprise incumbents like IBM's BigInsight who have had a couple of years to prepare for this day. Google's arrival on the scene will push big data up the agenda and it'll be fun to see how users and rivals react to the new kid on the block.

Title Image courtesy of Fotovika (Shutterstock).