What exactly is “Big” Data?

There was recently a conference held in San Francisco which featured many industry leaders, notably Facebook, Google, Citibank, EBay, and many more. This Big Data Innovation Summit gathered some of the greatest minds in the world and also brought what this article calls “Big Data Newbies” to the conference who are looking for better jobs   and performance. Also, statisticians are intrigued by the big name companies and believed that this was where they could find the truth about business and Big data, but they discovered it to only be hype. From this summit, there are two surprises that shocked many in attendance…

Here is a video of a Ted Talk about Big Data that can give you a background on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSVQ5RDBEJs

Big Data isn’t about “Big”

Research VP Frank Buytendijk explained that the term Big Data may be misleading, and the whole idea of Big may not be very relevant. Data changes so rapidly that something that is big one day can very easily be normal the next day. This opens up the spectrum for big data and can allow for more companies to become categorized as Big Data when they reach their potential. Data is measured in Petabytes and many newcomers to this area think that in order to find those companies that have Big Data, they simply must look of Petabytes per day and see which companies are over 100 terabytes (The IDC‘s definition of Big Data). It is important to realize that Big Data is very subjective to time and place. The Boston Marathon tragedy was only 10 terabytes to put this into perspective. Small Data is still very important and can go a long way.

It’s Not about the 3 Vs after all

The 3 V’s of Big Data are Volume, Variety, and Velocity. Because of this common belief in the three V’s, there has been a huge emphasis on storage technologies. Because of this, storage is doing well in the evolution of technologies that support Big Data. Unfortunately, though, this is causing a lack of evolving in the analytics field, since it has taken the back seat to storage in Big Data. Surely, it is amazing looking at the Revolution of storage technology dating back to the 1980’s. In 1980, IBM created the first disk drive in the world that could hold a gigabyte. Image

The IMB 3380 (Seen Above) weighed 550 pounds and cost $113,000. In 1980, it would cost $14 Million to buy a 1 Terabyte disk drive, but today what is it? Thirty Dollars. Amazing. But we need analysis to make the same change if we want to continue to get better data in the future.

This full article, written by Bruno Aziza can be found Here.

If you would like to learn more about why we need to create an analytics revolution, read Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analtics Platform.” Here you will see proof that most data analysis leaders did not submit data above 10 Terabytes. So why is “Big Data” that important?

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6 thoughts on “What exactly is “Big” Data?

  1. This blog post gives a good explanation and definition of ‘Big Data’ I think the term can be misleading and be interpreted differently by people, and data changes so rapidly that it can be hard to tell what data will be relevant/important. I also really like that you explain that 100 terabytes is one definition of Big Data and give it in a context of the Boston Marathon tragedy, which all of us our familiar with. That was really helpful, and it showcased the point that that small data is also really important. This was an interesting post, and I like that you provide a lot of context and explanation to make Big Data easier to understand.

  2. You did a very good job of helping us understand what ‘Big Data’ is. It can be difficult for those who are not as familiar with ‘techy’ terms to understand the ins and outs of data collection and storage. I agree that your use of the Boston Marathon as an example was very useful in helping me understand the size of data and its importance. It will be interesting to see how other companies utilize data in the future to catch up with other industry leaders.

  3. I think did an excellent explaining the misconceptions about data, specifically “big” data. I was definitely unaware of what this truly meant. As we discussed in class, and according to moore’s law, technology increases at such a rapid rate. It is interesting to look back at its history and observe how far we have come in such a small amount of time. Your dollar figures about data reminded me of class when we discussed the dollar amounts technology over time. You used links in this article very well, which gave this blog a professional nature. The picture of the IMB 3380 is also really cool. My only recommendation would be to embed the video into the blog. It would add the final aesthetic presentational value to this educational and informative blog. Overall, great topic and great explanation of something that can be very confusing!

  4. I agree with the other blog commentors that you did a great job helping us understand what “Big Data” really is. I am not very familiar with many technological terms, and although I have certainly read about big data I have never been completely comfortable with the term. This post did a great job outlining some misconceptions, and the Boston Marathon example made the information more relevant and easier to understand. Furthermore, the TED talk you linked was extremely informative and funny. The video talked a lot about how people use big data in their everyday lives. The speaker also mentioned that big data can help us “plan for tomorrow.” I am curious as to the type of innovations that big data will lead to and hope it helps us create a better future.

  5. This blog does a great job of bringing up something we talked about in class, but taking the topic much further. It is true that data is always changing and what could one day be seen as a lot of data could very well be a normal amount of data in a short period of time. Also, I am wondering how necessary is it to store data for a long period of time? Obviously, companies need to keep lots of information, like financials for an extended period of time, but when can we decide what data we no longer need to keep? I guess with technology becoming cheaper by the day it is not the greatest worry in the world to spend thirty dollars to keep a terabyte of information. The data that big data doesn’t seem nearly as powerful as before, or at least that is what I get from reading your post. I think it is less about how much you have and more about your mining skills assuming you have an adequate amount of data. This was a unique post that I enjoyed reading very much and you did a great job of embedding links within your article.

  6. This is a very insightful post, I was able to learn a lot from it. I have to admit that I was really excited from watching the TED talk and seeing all the possible solutions it can bring to our society. I was also impressed by the cellphone use in countries were I would not have expected. I believe this is related with what I explained in my last blog post about Twitter in developing countries. That is that cellphones might be used so frequently because they serve as a way to fix or substitute the faulty services common in the developing world.

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