Another First Crush: Big Data & Me

2005 was the year my attention was captured by the term “Big Data”. I was working at Perforce Software building, managing and executing the build and release systems. I’m pretty sure I was reading about 64-bit architecture in a Linux Journal article, or something like it.

Because of the nature of the Perforce server, I thought it relevant to a proprietary database’s future how it would manage this “Big Data” concept. I was (and for the most part, humbly remained) ignorant to the real world applicability of big data.

(For an excellent article explaining Big Data check out “What the Hell is Big Data” by Bernard Marr, May 27, 2013!  Another recent post that brings Big Data to the real world domain of we, the unwashed masses, is Big Data – The Big Picture | PIMCoach.)

My concern, then, was really focused on actual file sizes as a result of  a 2GB constraint on pre-2006 Perforce database files on certain popular platforms that caused much grief in the field and many hours worked delivering patches.

But soon I became interested in the related topics of taxonomies, ontologies and the semantic web. After reading some more, “Big Data” seemed very relevant to the rich metadata the Perforce server preserved (and so much of it–ask any server admin!). It seemed that there was potential there worth exploring.

Like other ideas put forward that year, this “Big Data” subject was dismissed. I think I remember someone might even have sneered a little (actually, that may have been when I mentioned the future of the “Cloud”). It was all in that part of the 2006 software development universe just another fad.

Now, seven years later in 2013, I’m quietly enjoying my small satisfaction of having called it right, albeit, too early to seem relevant at that time. Most likely, too, I couldn’t articulate the idea well enough with the little I truly knew.  I expect that Perforce has long joined the rest of the industry on its journey into the Cloud and has been cogitating recently on  what “Big Data” will mean for their business. I’ve moved on to Git and other open source solutions to version control, but Perforce code will forever dance through my head some nights.

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