In today's era of big data, we have heard about different tools and platforms for managing big data and analytics. Each platform such as Spark and Hadoop has its own specialties and limitations. Big data applications are using different platforms based on their specific requirements. But this selection of platform and tools does not guarantee the success of the application, unless we have the proper infrastructure to back it up. Here, the cloud plays the most important role. We must have a proper elastic cloud environment to support big data needs, otherwise it will be a bitter experience in the production environment.

So why is the cloud so important and how does it help big data applications?

What Is Cloud Infrastructure?

Cloud infrastructure is actually a kind of infrastructure which has to be accessed through the internet. It is a virtual infrastructure, which means that it exists in the networking system. Cloud infrastructure is a set of services which are implemented on-demand through a model called infrastructure as a service or IaaS. This is one of the many models for the delivery of cloud infrastructure services. This model is completely automated, and it provides both computing and storage services to the users of this service. Thus, the users don’t have to create a completely separate physical infrastructure, as they will already have a reliable IT cloud infrastructure for their use.

Cloud Infrastructure – As a Product

One of the most popular products of cloud computing services is the cloud infrastructure. With the help of this product, businesses and organizations can easily build a powerful IT infrastructure with all the necessary components ready. The networking, storage and processing components can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the users. This system is very similar to that of a physical infrastructure, but it is much easier to set up, manage and is very adaptable too. Physical infrastructure needs physical access and manual work for any modifications in the system, which makes it very daunting to use, but it isn’t quite the case for cloud infrastructures. (For more on cloud trends, read Born in the Cloud: The Next Generation of Cloud Services.)

Why Cloud Is Important for Big Data

Many businesses that are using big data applications are depending on cloud infrastructures to get benefits. Thus, cloud infrastructures are becoming more and more important. Some of the benefits of cloud computing related to big data applications are given below.


Cloud infrastructure is perfect for those organizations or businesses whose bandwidth demands constantly vary. If the bandwidth needs any increase or decrease, the user can easily set up the capacity of the infrastructure. This quick response is important, as this can be the real differentiator between gaining and losing customers.

Ready-to-Use and Scalable Infrastructure

The cloud infrastructure is ready-to-use, so any requirement can be met instantly without any waiting time. In today’s business world, success depends upon quick response time. This ready-to-use infrastructure helps big data applications to launch quickly and scale as per growth demands.

Cost Effective

Cloud infrastructure can be used on a demand basis, so big data applications can use it as per growth and demand. For example, in the initial stage of any big data application, the volume is relatively low, so the demand for infrastructure would be less. And over time, this demand will increase, so the need for infrastructure will also change. Cloud provides the flexibility to increase or decrease the infrastructure demand as per requirement, hence it is cost effective to the clients. (For more on saving money in the cloud, see 5 Ways Companies Can Cut Cloud Costs.)


Every organization needs insurance in case of a disaster, and for this, they must invest a lot in disaster recovery. However, not every business has enough capital or manpower to invest in data recovery. But, with the advent of cloud infrastructure, even small businesses can invest in data recovery, even with very limited budget and manpower. Now, they can save both time and money with the help of cloud infrastructure.

Automated Updating

The best thing about cloud computing is that the servers aren’t in the user’s workplace, so they do not have to manage it. The people managing the server remotely update its software regularly, which enhances its performance and often its security quotient.

How Big Data Can Benefit From a Cloud Environment

The combination of the cloud environment and big data has the potential to be the biggest trend in data, changing the lives of thousands of people. When these technologies team up, people all over the world will get access to a magnanimous amount of useful data.

Cloud computing is extremely powerful and can be used to process large amounts of data at once. Also, it is not too costly as it doesn’t require expensive computing devices, large storage mediums and large physical space.

On the other hand, massive data is being generated every day by the users of cloud computing. Handling of this data can be quite challenging. But, due to the power of cloud computing, it can easily be handled. Large amounts of big data can be processed by cloud infrastructure quite easily due to its processing power and high storage capacity. This processed data can be then used for getting useful insights on different topics of interest. Thus, big data is really benefiting from the advent of cloud computing.

What Are the Challenges?

Though big data can benefit a lot with the help of cloud computing, current cloud computing and storage methods need to improve a lot to work as per expectations. Any cloud devices fall in this category, including personal cloud storage systems like NAS (network attached storage) devices are evolving continuously to work more efficiently.

Many people believe that the process of using cloud devices is just too complicated. They often cannot understand why they should use a complicated device while they have a simple storage device back at their workplace. Security issues also often arise with cloud infrastructure. However, this problem usually doesn’t occur in newer cloud infrastructures.

In spite of all these challenges, big data has to work with the cloud in order to make it a success.

What Is the Future?

The future of big data and cloud computing together has the potential to be a highly successful one. Big data generated by users can be stored in high-capacity cloud storage devices, and can be later analyzed by cloud processing solutions for useful information. The information processed by cloud computing can also be used for fraud detection, risk detection and policy underwriting.

In the future, big data analytics tools will be much simpler with the help of cloud computing. These cloud-integrated tools will help in properly analyzing the big data, and machine learning will play a big role in this. The security quotient is also expected to be improved in the future and powerful networks of cloud-based services will be made. This will help in better machine learning and allow data to be analyzed automatically.

To make a complete success story, big data and the cloud will work together in a more sophisticated and efficient way. And it will yield benefits to all types of business, be they small, medium or large.

Success Stories

Cloud computing has become quite popular since the time of its arrival. Many organizations and businesses are using cloud computing to enhance their decision-making skills and speed. Many Fortune 500 companies and even some small businesses have started using this technology in addition to big data for better results.

An example of such a service is Dropbox, a powerful cloud storage service which can store large amounts of data. Another example is that of Siemens, which is using the services of the cloud platform Syncplicity, for enhancing its customer interactions and employee collaborations.

Also, Bitly is transferring its 25 billion links to the IBM cloud servers for faster access and better management. Even educational institutions, like Oxford University, are using cloud infrastructure to simplify access for thousands of students.


Cloud infrastructure is one of the latest services offered by cloud service providers. It has enough potential to replace traditional physical IT infrastructures due to the features it provides and also its usability. It also requires significantly fewer resources than traditional IT infrastructures. It is much more flexible and can adapt according to the demands of the users very easily and quickly. Additionally, cloud infrastructures are managed by the service providers themselves, which means that the users do not have to spend time and capital for managing their infrastructures.