One of President John Kennedy’s most memorable phrases is “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what can you do for your country”. I got to thinking about this over lunch with a fellow colleague in the big data space. After comparing named customers for a while, we realized we had forgotten one of the biggest “big data” customers whom we both have in common – the government.
Whether you believe in small or big government, one thing is for certain – it has some very big data on its hands. Some of this is freely available, such as the census data that was recently released. They have so much “big data” in fact, that the US government even went so far as to set up an entire subcommittee on the topic.
Tokutek has been privileged to be in the middle of many of these conversations. This includes discussions at the state level, where Tokutek was the sole database company recently invited to an international business discussion at the Massachusetts statehouse. Several of our recent talks and product enhancements have also squarely hit upon federal government needs, including:
- Keeping the Earth Green
- Remarkably, data centers consume 1-3 percent of all the US electricity. A majority of this power is used to drive servers and storage systems. Significant energy savings remain on the table. The government has been exploring new ways to approach this. In a presentation to the NSF, our CTO explains how Tokutek solutions are green today, and how they will be even more so in the future.
- Improving the National Transportation System
- The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) manages the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) research programs. The office is in charge of new technologies that can improve the national transportation system. As part of this, they make on time flight information available to analyze. Using this data, Tokutek has been able to demonstrate the benefits of flexible schema for analysis purposes with our latest product, TokuDB v5.0.
- Ensuring Defense
- Big Data presents a wealth of information; however harnessing it can be a struggle. One area for this is machine-generated data, such as sensor networks, can provide a fire hose of useful data, but can also be burdensome to work with. Earlier this year, our CTO spoke at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center about how to handle data ingestion rates, a critical area for defense systems.
The US government certainly has some sizable challenges these days, with large deficits and rancorous politics. Some of these issues almost seem intractable. But one area where technology has a clear way to help the government is with its big data problems. We’ve been grateful to be able to work on some of the most interesting challenges and learn quite a bit from the community.