What Is Big Data and Why Is It Becoming Bigger Data?

By Julia Uglietta
Associate, Marketing and Sales

What Is Big Data
Cloud-based big data is rapidly becoming the wave of the future.

Big data is a consequence of the new world of technology that we have created, where everything is monitored and measured at an increasingly fast rate.  All of the resulting data then exceeds the processing and storage capacity of traditional database systems.  The term “big data” is used to describe sets of data so great and intricate that they need assistance from data management tools in order for people to be able to use the data effectively.

Big data can be found in many industries that touch everyone’s life in some way or another such as healthcare, human relations, science and finance. But most of all, the federal government wrestles with big data routinely. Medicare claims, financial records, video and “sensor” records represent just some of the big data that the federal government deals with every day.

Big data to the federal government, though, may be different than big data to an organization with fewer than 100 employees. What is considered big data, as opposed to just data, depends upon the organization managing it. Some might be able to handle hundreds of terabytes or even multiple petabytes, while some might only be able to manage hundreds of gigabytes. It all depends on what an organization is prepared to handle.

Big Data Is Becoming Bigger Data

Faster than we can count, big data is becoming bigger data.

According to the Forbes article “Best Practices for Managing Big Data,” the average organization will grow their data by 50 percent in the coming year and overall corporate data will grow by 94 percent. IDC pegs the value of big data at $16.9 billion by 2015.

The myriad devices in use today are contributing heavily to the growth of big data. Between mobile phones, laptops, sensors, RFID tags and smart meters, the new technology devices we use today are bringing in more data than ever before. Not surprisingly, the majority of big data is duplicated or synthesized data. So, just as large masses of data are being recorded daily, copied and stored data is also growing exponentially – and by the second.

Managing data is no longer an option for most organizations. Rather, it has become a requirement. However, without the proper data management tools, analyzing the data to gather business insights is an enormous challenge.

Big Data and the Cloud

That’s where the cloud comes in. Cloud computing, along with the tool of virtualization, is rapidly becoming the best way to manage big data. By virtualizing data, you are reducing the data footprint and centralizing the management of the data set – ultimately making big data smaller. Virtualization is key when it comes to opening up more affordable data management options and reducing the costs associated with data storage.

The cloud, with its clusters of servers, readily offers scalability and flexibility for processing all that big data. The increase in processing capacity for cloud-based big data saves both time and money. When big data applications are based in the cloud, a broader range of users within an organization can run mammoth big data infrastructures more quickly and efficiently. Moreover, in the cloud, organizations can run their big data operations at a fraction of the cost of doing it in-house.

Big data is simply becoming unavoidable. However, with this growing challenge, comes many new opportunities. Cloud-based data management tools and techniques are being developed and automated every day to meet the unique needs of millions of customers around the world.

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