Big Data takes center stage at the 2012 Liferay Symposium

Unlike past years, in 2012, Big Data technologies are making a name for themselves at portal technology conferences. Why? Content continues to amass, and standard CMS systems can't cope. Once again, it's Big Data to the rescue.

Every Java developer should attend JavaOne at least once. It's a showcase of the industry's best talent, there is an overwhelming amount of information to consume, and in many ways it's organized chaos with so much going on at once. Three or four days at Oracle's flagship conference can be overwhelming.

The Liferay Symposium sits in marked contrast to JavaOne. There's a similar caliber of expert speakers, but the atmosphere is much more intimate and inviting. This years conference produced a great turnout of attendees, yet there aren't thousands of individuals vying for the attention of each speaker when a session is finished; and because the scale is smaller, with the whole Liferay function being held in San Francisco's Hyatt Regency hotel, it's easier to track down, speak with and even interview the important names at the conference. In many ways, the relaxed vibe at the Liferay conference is reminiscent of TheServerSide Java Symposiums that were held in past years.

And while Liferay pushes the "Open for Business" theme, along with a great deal of discussion aroundLiferay's Marketplace and product enhancements to the portal, the topic that seems to be putting its own stamp on the conference is big data. It's not a topic that has been overly prevalent in past years, but this year MongoDB has been presenting in the exhibition hall, and a number of consulting firms are pushing the Big Data, CMS and Portal trifecta.

Big Data isn't a term you would consider synonymous with CMS and presentation tier technologies, but apparently more and more organizations are finding it a challenge managing all of their different content streams. For example, how does a news organization manage the volumes of information they are aggregating and storing on a daily basis? As video, audio, text and images stream in, terabytes turn into petabytes pretty quickly. Then the challenge of how to serve up customized content based on a given user's profile goes from being a simple content management problem to becoming a major big data challenge.

And of course, the typical stream of topics that you would expect to find discussed at such a conference are also well represented, with sessions on everything from mobile development to the role of the portal server in the emerging world of embedded devices. As the industry continues to change, the portal remains uniquely situated to rise to the challenge.

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