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Friday, September 21, 2012


“Big Data” and the Federal Government

by Dan Gonzalez

This is the second installment on the high tech trend of “big data analytics” and its impact on the Northern Virginia data center market.  The focus this time will be on the federal government’s role in creating and deciphering “big data.”  
 
As noted previously, not all data centers are capable of handling big data users as there are special requirements for handling the one-megawatt-plus users.  Big data centers require mega-storage, higher power, and cooling densities.  Currently, only Virginia, Texas, and California have data centers large enough to handle the big data volume.

Significantly for Northern Virginia, six federal agencies recently teamed up on a $200 million investment to access, organize, and understand the huge volumes of digital data being generated. The agencies involved are:

     National Institutes of Health
     Department of Energy
     National Science Foundation
     Department of Defense
     DARPA
     U.S. Geological Survey

This commitment on the part of these agencies will benefit Northern Virginia in terms of public/private partnerships and major investments in data center facilities and technology.  The driver behind this investment and cooperative was the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.  Its stated goals for the initiative are to:
 
·         “Advance state-of-the-art core technologies needed to collect, store, preserve, manage, analyze, and share huge quantities of data;
·         Harness these technologies to accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen our national security, and transform teaching and learning; and
·         Expand the workforce needed to develop and use Big Data technologies.”


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