Big data is a buzzword, or catch-phrase, used to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large that it's difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques. In most enterprise scenarios the data is too big or it moves too fast or it exceeds current processing capacity. Big data has the potential to help companies improve operations and make faster, more intelligent decisions.
Is Big Data a Volume or a Technology?
While the term may seem to reference the volume of data, that isn't always the case. The term big data, especially when used by vendors, may refer to the technology (which includes tools and processes) that an organization requires to handle the large amounts of data and storage facilities. The term big data is believed to have originated with Web search companies who needed to query very large distributed aggregations of loosely-structured data.
An Example of Big Data
An example of big data might be petabytes (1,024 terabytes) or exabytes (1,024 petabytes) of data consisting of billions to trillions of records of millions of people—all from different sources (e.g. Web, sales, customer contact center, social media, mobile data and so on). The data is typically loosely structured data that is often incomplete and inaccessible.
Big Data and Types of Business Datasets
When dealing with larger datasets, organizations face difficulties in being able to create, manipulate, and manage big data. Big data is particularly a problem in business analytics because standard tools and procedures are not designed to search and analyze massive datasets.
As research from Webopedia parent company QuinStreet demonstrates, big data initiatives are poised for explosive growth. QuinStreet surveyed 540 enterprise decision-makers involved in big data and found the datasets of interest to many businesses today include traditional structured databases of inventories, orders, and customer information, as well as unstructured data from the Web, social networking sites, and intelligent devices.
This data, when captured, formatted, manipulated, stored, and analyzed can help a company to gain useful insight to increase revenues, get or retain customers, and improve operations.
Recommended Reading: Webopedia's big data analytics definition.
Big data may also be called enterprise big data.
- Watch Datamation's editor James Maguire moderate roundtable discussions with tech experts from companies such as Accenture, Dell, Blue Jeans Network, Microsoft and more »
The future remains, well, cloudy. But either way: Amazon, look out. Microsoft is gaining fast. Read More »Hype Versus Action in the Developer's World
Often times technologies start as hype but with time become adopted. As a developer or technologist, it is worth reading the hype and knowing the... Read More »Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization Q&A
The top 5 Hyper-V questions with answers provided by Nirmal Sharma, a MCSEx3, MCITP and Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. Read More »
This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends
Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »15 Important Big Data Facts for IT Professionals
Keeping track of big data trends, research and statistics gives IT professionals a solid foundation to plan big data projects. Here are 15... Read More »