Big Data Retention for Manufacturers

Big Data is a big topic for manufacturers these days  since “manufacturing stores more data than any other sector – close to two exabytes of new data stored in 2010,” according to a June 2011 report from McKinsey & Company.  So what’s actually happening in this space to help manufacturers both manage and gain value from all the data flowing through their operations?

Just this week Dell announced a new Big Data retention solution that makes managing big data both easier and less costly. Spanning across storage, management and analytics, the new solution leverages RainStor software to help support and retain big data while reducing both data volume and associated costs. The services component of the solution can even help manufacturers build a big data infrastructure from the ground up.

To shed more light on the topic, I asked our senior consultant for Manufacturing Strategy and Business Development, Siva Kuppuswamy, a few questions about the new solution and its significance to manufacturers:

Bill: Why is a solution like this particularly beneficial to the manufacturing industry?

Siva: Traditionally, manufacturers have collected large amounts of critical data from their products in the field or the machines and equipment in their factories. Adding to that, new sources of innovation such as telematics or embedded electronics are inherently data-rich, which leads to an increasing need for manufacturers to manage large sets of data.

Bill: You mention that new sources of innovation are actually causing some of the big data concerns for manufacturers. Outside of the ones mentioned, are there other new technologies affecting data, specifically for manufacturers?

Siva: Increased use of data acquisition and embedded sensors in engineered products leads to huge data streams.  Manufacturers need to store, manage and utilize this data more effectively.

Bill: What are some examples of how manufacturers could leverage this data from new sensor technology?

Siva: We see opportunities for manufacturers to reduce variation and therefore reduce waste and improve quality by leveraging insights from data generated from sensor technology.   We also see how maintenance could be optimized, which should lead to lower costs and improved quality. 

Bill: What are manufacturers looking for when it comes to big data and implementing a solution?

Siva: We see manufacturers looking for their data to become a true asset, and less of a burden.  We are seeing leading manufacturers actually creating business models based on leveraging the data collected, and developing insights for improved products and processes.

Bill: The new solution from Dell focuses on reducing costs associated with retaining big data. How will this benefit manufacturers?

Siva: Data collection has matured in manufacturing over the years, but retention and analysis of large data has been inconsistent. This solution gives manufacturers a standardized platform on which to retain and analyze data across their organization.

Bill: Do you have any real-life examples of how our manufacturing customers might be able to benefit from this solution?

Siva: We have a customer interested in an IT solution that can help them use the data collected from their equipment and convert and package this information into informational solutions that they can then provide to their customers. Another one of our large equipment manufacturers uses field usage data from their products to understand the macro economic factors and demand drivers in the economy, and this solution can really help them expand those efforts and reduce the costs involved. 

We’re thrilled to introduce this solution to these manufacturers and others that can benefit from leveraging the data they’re collecting.

Does your company struggle with big data? Comment here and let us know how Dell might be able to help you with your big data concerns.

About the Author: Bill Popp