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Exploring 6 Best Big Data Platforms for Your Business


Trinh Nguyen

May 27, 2024

The concept of a data platform has undergone remarkable changes since the early days of digital computing. Initially, data management was simplistic, confined to basic databases and file storage systems.

However, with the advent of the internet and e-commerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the sheer volume, speed, and diversity of data exploded, giving rise to the era of “Big Data.” This transformative period saw a significant evolution in data platform technologies, emphasizing scalability and the ability to handle unstructured data like text, images, and videos. Technologies such as Hadoop and NoSQL databases emerged and challenged the dominance of traditional relational database systems. And they paved the way for modern data platforms.

Today, a data platform includes a suite of technologies tailored to meet an organization’s diverse data needs. It facilitates data acquisition, storage, management, and governance while ensuring user and application security.

Today, we’ll discuss the essence of big data platforms, their workflows, and their types. This article will wrap up with a list of the top platforms available on the market.

So, let’s get started!

What Is a Big Data Platform?

We’re living in the age of digital transformation, where an immense volume of data is generated every second. This has led to the introduction of specialized platforms to manage and analyze it effectively – known as big data platforms. They are robust frameworks designed to help organizations store, process, and analyze huge amounts of both structured and unstructured data.

Fundamentally, a modern data platform consists of various tools, technologies, and infrastructure to manage big data’s three main aspects: volume, velocity, and variety. By harnessing distributed computing, parallel processing, and advanced analytics techniques, businesses can identify patterns and optimize their operations effectively.

From the initial stages of data ingestion and storage to the subsequent phases of processing and visualization, big data analytics platforms provide companies with a comprehensive solution for navigating and exploiting data potential in the fast-paced digital world.

How Do Big Data Platforms Work?

how systems work

Understanding how big data platforms operate is key to leveraging your organization’s data effectively for informed decision-making.

Typically, these platforms follow a structured process encompassing 6 vital steps. Here’s the general big data platform workflow:

Data Collection

This first phase involves gathering data from multiple sources, including databases, social media, and sensors. To have this data at hand, data engineers will employ web scraping, data feeds, APIs, and data extraction tools.

Once collected, data will be stored in a centralized repository (data lake or warehouse) for easy access and subsequent analysis.

Data Storage

Following data collection is efficient storage for retrieval and processing.

Common big data platforms rely on distributed storage systems thanks to their high availability, fault tolerance, and scalability. Some big names include Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Google Cloud Storage, and Amazon S3.

Data Processing

This is a critical phase in the data lifecycle, where raw data is transformed into actionable insights. This stage encompasses a series of sophisticated operations designed to refine and structure the data for analysis. These operations consist of data cleaning, transformation, and aggregation, each serving a unique purpose in preparing data for insightful analysis.

To handle the voluminous and complex nature of big data, parallel processing capabilities are indispensable. Platforms like Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark are at the forefront of big data processing technologies. They offer robust solutions for managing and analyzing large datasets efficiently.

Data Analysis

This step is a pivotal phase in the big data processing pipeline, where the primary goal is to distill vast volumes of complex data into actionable insights and discernible patterns.

This phase leverages sophisticated methodologies and technologies, including machine learning algorithms, data mining techniques, and advanced visualization tools, to unearth valuable information hidden within the data. The insights garnered through this process play a crucial role in facilitating data-driven decision-making, optimizing processes, and solving intricate problems across various domains.

Data Quality Assurance

Data quality assurance (DQA) comes next to ensure the reliability and effectiveness of data used across various business operations and decision-making processes. It encompasses a comprehensive approach to maintaining high data governance standards, accuracy, consistency, integrity, relevance, and security. By implementing rigorous DQA measures, organizations can significantly enhance the trustworthiness of their data, thereby improving the outcomes of their data-driven initiatives.

Different techniques are used in this stage, including data lineage tracking and data catalog, to boost our confidence in the data used for decision-making.

Data Management

Data management covers a comprehensive set of disciplines and practices dedicated to the proper handling, maintenance, and utilization of data. It’s a critical aspect of modern organizations, given the exponential growth of data and its pivotal role in decision-making, strategic planning, and operational efficiency. Effective data management ensures that data is not only accurate and accessible but also secure and compliant with relevant regulations.

The core data management components are organizing, storing, and retrieving large volumes of data. Besides, organizations can adopt common methods such as data backup, recovery, and archiving to guarantee fault tolerance and optimized data retrieval for other use cases later on.

5 Different Types of Big Data Platforms

Data platforms come in different types, each tailored to handle specific data types, processing methods, and deployment models.

1. Data Warehouses

Among major types of data platforms, data warehouses stand out for their specialization in storing structured data in a well-organized, columnar format. This structure facilitates quick and efficient analytical queries, providing a comprehensive view of an organization’s data across different departments and systems.

Data within a warehouse undergoes cleaning, transformation, and structuring into star or snowflake schemas, optimizing it for enterprise business intelligence and reporting purposes.

Prominent examples of data warehouses are Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, and Snowflake.

2. Data Lakes

Another significant type of data platform is data lakes, built to accommodate vast amounts of raw data, regardless of its native format (structured, semi-structured, or unstructured).

Unlike warehouses, data lakes do not require predefined schemas, allowing data to be stored in its native format. This flexibility makes them ideal for big data and real-time analytics. Data lakes are often built on technologies like Hadoop HDFS or cloud-based solutions such as Amazon S3, allowing storing data at scale and supporting various analytics and machine learning applications.

Notable platforms in this category include AWS Lake Formation and Azure Data Lake Storage.

3. Cloud Based Data Platforms

Hosted on the cloud, these platforms offer scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solutions for data management, eliminating the need for physical hardware and reducing the overhead associated with traditional on-premises solutions.

They typically integrate numerous services that cover the entire data lifecycle, from data ingestion to storage, processing, and analysis.

AWS (Amazon Web Services) with services like Amazon S3 for storage and Amazon Athena for analysis, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with Google Cloud Storage and BigQuery, and Microsoft Azure with Azure Blob Storage and Azure Synapse Analytics are some cases in point.

4. Hybrid Data Platforms 

Hybrid data platforms represent a strategic approach to data management that combines the capabilities of on-premises data centers with cloud-based data services.

These platforms enable organizations to harness cloud benefits while retaining certain data or applications on-premises, often due to regulatory compliance or specific operational needs. They ensure both security and control of traditional data centers, and the cost-effectiveness, agility, and innovation speed of cloud computing. Hybrid data platforms are particularly valuable for organizations navigating digital transformation, enabling them to leverage existing investments in on-premises infrastructure while taking advantage of cloud technologies for specific workloads or data sets.

A major provider in hybrid data platforms calls the name of Cloudera with many solutions deployable in hybrid configurations.

5. Real-time Data Platforms 

Real-time data platforms are tailored for instantaneous data processing and analytics.

They empower businesses to respond swiftly to incoming information, crucial for fraud detection, real-time recommendations, and operational analytics.

Noteworthy instances are Apache Kafka and AWS Kinesis for streaming data, along with Apache Storm and Spark Streaming for real-time data processing.

It’s worth noting that the 5 types mentioned above aren’t mutually exclusive. Specifically, a data platform may embody characteristics of multiple types, such as cloud-based and supporting real-time processing. To choose the right data platform, you should consider various factors, including data type, use case, cost considerations, and your team’s expertise.

Top 6 Big Data Platforms in 2024

The 6 Big Data Platforms Leading the Charge in 2024

Now, look at 6 leading big data platforms that provide your business with robust features for managing complex datasets.

1. Apache Hadoop

Apache Hadoop is one of the industry’s most popular data platforms. This open-source framework facilitates distributed processing across clusters for massive datasets. It offers a scalable and cost-effective approach to storing, processing, and analyzing vast volumes of structured and unstructured data.

A standout feature of Hadoop is its distributed file system, Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), which ensures fault tolerance and high availability by distributing data across multiple machines. This capability enables organizations to handle data at an unprecedented scale.

Additionally, Hadoop boasts a potent processing engine called MapReduce, allowing for parallel data processing across the cluster.

Many huge firms utilize Apache Hadoop, including Yahoo, Facebook, and X.

2. Apache Spark

Apache Spark emerges as a unified analytics engine catering to batch processing, streaming data, machine learning, and graph processing needs.

Among the most sought-after big data platforms, Apache Spark stands out with its remarkable speed, executing data processing tasks in memory and achieving significantly faster processing times than traditional disk-based systems. Another advantage of Spark is its support for multiple programming languages, including Java, Scala, Python, and R, making it accessible to a wide developer audience.

Moreover, Spark offers many libraries and tools, such as Spark SQL for structured data querying, MLlib for machine learning, and GraphX for graph processing. It also seamlessly integrates with other big data technologies like Hadoop, allowing businesses to leverage their existing infrastructure.

Major industry players like Netflix, Uber, and Airbnb rely on Apache Spark for their big data needs.

3. Google Cloud BigQuery

Google Cloud BigQuery is our next big data platform, providing a fully managed, serverless data warehouse solution.

With a robust and scalable infrastructure, it facilitates storage, querying, and analysis of vast datasets with ease. BigQuery is adept at handling petabytes of data, helping users execute SQL queries on large datasets swiftly and efficiently.

Furthermore, BigQuery supports multiple data formats and seamlessly integrates with other Google Cloud services like Google Cloud Storage and Google Data Studio. Its unique architecture ensures automatic scaling, relieving users of infrastructure management concerns.

On top of that, equipped with a standard SQL interface for querying data, built-in machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics, and geospatial analysis capabilities, BigQuery serves as a versatile tool for diverse business needs.

Important users of Google Cloud BigQuery include Spotify, Walmart, and The New York Times.

4. Amazon EMR

Amazon EMR is a widely adopted big data platform within Amazon Web Services (AWS), presenting a scalable and cost-effective solution for processing and analyzing large datasets.

Leveraging popular open-source frameworks such as Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, and Apache Hive, EMR allows users to quickly provision and manage clusters of virtual servers (instances) for parallel data processing.

EMR seamlessly integrates with other AWS services like Amazon S3 for data storage and Amazon Redshift for data warehousing, fostering a comprehensive big data ecosystem. Plus, supporting various data processing frameworks and tools, EMR accommodates a broad spectrum of use cases, including data transformation, machine learning, log analysis, and real-time analytics.

3 major adopters of Amazon EMR are Expedia, Lyft, and Pfizer.

5. Microsoft Azure HDInsight

Microsoft Azure HDInsight is a leading big data platform within the Microsoft Azure ecosystem. Offering a fully managed cloud service, HDInsight facilitates the processing and analysis of large datasets utilizing popular open-source frameworks like Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark, Apache Hive, and Apache HBase. With a scalable and dependable infrastructure, users can effortlessly deploy and manage clusters to meet their needs.

HDInsight seamlessly integrates with other Azure services, such as Azure Data Lake Storage and Azure Synapse Analytics, providing clients with a comprehensive suite of Microsoft Azure services. What’s more, HDInsight supports many different programming languages like Java, Python, and R, catering to a broad spectrum of users.

Significant users of Microsoft Azure HDInsight are Starbucks, Boeing, and T-Mobile.

6. Cloudera 

Our last big data platform – Cloudera – offers a comprehensive array of tools and services tailored to help organizations effectively manage and analyze extensive datasets. Built on Apache Hadoop, Cloudera’s platform streamlines the distributed storage and processing of big data across on-premise, cloud, and edge environments.

Cloudera’s unified platform integrates components like Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), Apache Spark, and Apache Hive, empowering users to undertake plenty of data processing and analytics tasks. Additionally, Cloudera provides machine learning and advanced analytics tools, making it easy for businesses to derive deeper insights from their data.

Major players leveraging Cloudera are Dell, Nissan Motor, and Comcast.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Big Data Platforms

Essential Guide to Choosing the Right Big Data Platform: Key Factors to Consider

When it comes to selecting big data platforms, you should take into consideration crucial factors like integrations and analytical capabilities. Read on for more details.


Scalability stands out as a pivotal aspect when evaluating enterprise data platforms.

This is because, as your data expands, the platform should seamlessly accommodate the growing volume, velocity, and variety of data without sacrificing performance. A scalable platform allows for the smooth expansion of your data infrastructure as your business needs evolve.

Therefore, look for platforms supporting horizontal scaling, enabling adding more servers or nodes to distribute workloads and handle larger datasets.


Performance is another important factor in platform selection.

Opt for big data platforms that exhibit excellent data processing speeds, efficient scaling, high fault tolerance, and minimal disruptions.

Whether your tasks involve batch processing, real-time analytics, or machine learning, your chosen platform should handle them effectively without decreasing performance. Features like parallel processing and distributed computing are worth looking for since they can greatly contribute to optimized performance.

Data Security and Compliance

Today’s world is marked by increased risks of breaches and cyber-attacks, making data security and compliance a top priority. A robust security framework is thus indispensable for maintaining data integrity, protecting customer privacy, and mitigating legal and regulatory risks.

As a result, ensure the platform you choose has strong security features like data encryption, data access controls, and authentication mechanisms to safeguard sensitive information. Verify whether the platform complies with industry regulations and standards such as GDPR or HIPAA.


Ease of use is the next aspect your business should prioritize. A platform with a steep learning curve can hinder adoption and productivity, resulting in poor performance.

Seek a platform with a highly intuitive user interface and data tools, so your team can easily navigate functions and execute business-specific tasks without extensive technical expertise.

Additionally, ensure the data platform offers comprehensive documentation, resources, and tutorials to aid users in harnessing its capabilities and features effortlessly.

Integration Capabilities

Your chosen big data platform should seamlessly integrate with your existing ecosystem, including your databases and applications.

This integration streamlines data processing and eliminates the need for complex data migration processes.

Hence, look for platforms that integrate with prominent databases, cloud services, and APIs and are compatible with various data sources. Also, consider platform compatibility with your preferred programming languages and technologies.

Pick the Right Big Data Platforms for Your Business

In conclusion, big data platforms have become indispensable tools for modern enterprises seeking to harness data for informed decision-making. These platforms boast cutting-edge capabilities, from data processing to advanced analytics. They enable your company to gain insights from vast data streams.

Since choosing a big data platform profoundly influences your business strategy and growth prospects, it’s highly recommended to conduct a thorough analysis before making your final decision.

At Neurond, we offer comprehensive data engineering services tailored to your business requirements. From data strategy consulting to data mining and storage, our team of expert data engineers and data scientists excels in extracting and transforming relevant data, constructing data pipelines, maintaining data infrastructure for advanced analytics, and managing big data platforms. We’re dedicated to assisting you in establishing a sustainable foundation for a scalable data ecosystem.

Contact us now!