Data is an asset that allows organizations to glean valuable insights, but what happens when you have too much data and not enough tools in place to work with it? Government agencies are faced with that reality today: They have to figure out the best way to structure and process the data they have to make sense of it.
Laws such as the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, passed on Jan. 14, indicate that the issue of data management is at the forefront of public awareness and garners bipartisan support. Along with tasking the head of each agency to develop and maintain a data inventory that accounts for all data assets within the agency, it also tasks agencies with appointing or designating a qualified chief data officer without regard to political affiliation.
As government agencies hash out the challenges that come with making better use of their data, first understanding what they have and where to find it is key. To address this issue, they need search capabilities that can scale regardless of the amount of data that needs parsing.
Developers and agency leaders could then focus their attention on concrete answers that arise from their data in response to the questions they want answers to. These answers should ideally come with real-time analytics, logging features and security measures.
This is where industry comes in.
Elasticsearch meets all of those needs by offering a near real-time search and analytics capability to agencies. Elasticsearch indexes data, which means grouping documents together with similar qualities, and then provides multiple tools for analysis. As of the most recent updates, core Elasticsearch security features like Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, native and file-based authentication, and role-based access control, are free, and part of the default distribution.
The process of using Elasticsearch starts with a query. The type of search you perform can involve structured, unstructured, geo or metric data. Once you’ve found what you need, Elasticsearch helps you analyze it by zooming out to note trends and patterns. The speed at which this can occur could transform an agency’s relationship with its data. When it becomes possible to obtain instant answers, agencies are able to iterate and derive more insights from their data than they ever imagined.
Elasticsearch integrated with MapR Technologies in April 2014 to allow customers a scalable architecture to rapidly search and discover insights across substantial volumes of data. MapR Technologies works closely with companies like AlphaSix and is part of an ecosystem of solutions that AlphaSix uses to design, implement and support big data analytics for federal agencies.
The amount of data agencies have will continue to increase in the years to come and grow even more complex. Agencies have to figure out ways to search for better insights, and an open-source search engine can help by enabling better operational efficiency for a large enterprise environment.
To learn more, visit alphasixcorp.com.