Description: Wal-Mart Stores, struggling to translate its brick-and-mortar success to the Web, is using free software named after a stuffed elephant to help it gain an edge on Amazon.com in the $165.4 billion U.S. e-commerce market.
Source: BusinessWeek .com.
Date: Sept 7, 2011
With its online sales less than a fifth of Amazon’s last year, Wal-Mart executives have turned to software called Hadoop that helps businesses quickly and cheaply sift through terabytes or even petabytes of Twitter posts, Facebook updates, and other so-called unstructured data. Hadoop, which is customizable and available free online, was created to analyze raw information better than traditional databases like those from Oracle (ORCL).
“When the amount of data in the world increases at an exponential rate, analyzing that data and producing intelligence from it becomes very important,” says Anand Rajaraman, senior vice-president of global e-commerce at Wal-Mart and head of @WalmartLabs, the retailer’s division charged with improving its use of the Web.
Questions for discussion:
- What is Hadoop’s competitive advantage against traditional database vendors such as Oracle.
- What is unstructured data and why is it such a large concern for companies to find a way to manage it?