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What Is the Definition of Big Data?

Big Data is data which cannot be handled by traditional technologies

Is Big Data a buzzword with no clear definition? Wikipedia defines Big Data as...

...a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications...

13 More Definitions of Big Data
Here is a collection of 13 (unlucky?) other definitions of "Big Data" - from analyst firms, from government organizations, from technology publication and from technology vendors.

1. Gartner

...is defined as high volume, velocity and variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making...

2. Forrester

...is the frontier of a firm's ability to store, process, and access (SPA) all the data it needs to operate effectively, make decisions, reduce risks, and serve customers...

Big data

3. O’Reilly Media

…is data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems…

4. IDC (picked from Mary Ludloff’s blog)

…describe a new generation of technologies and architectures, designed to economically extract value from very large volumes of a wide variety of data, by enabling high-velocity capture, discovery, and/or analysis…

5. TechAmerica Foundation Big Data Commission

…is a term that describes large volumes of high velocity, complex, and variable data that require advanced techniques and technologies to enable the capture, storage, distribution, management, and analysis of the information…

6. NIST – US Department of Commerce

…is where the data volume, acquisition velocity, or data representation limits the ability to perform effective analysis using traditional relational approaches or requires the use of significant horizontal scaling for efficient processing…

7. PC Mag

…is the massive amounts of data that collect over time that are difficult to analyze and handle using common database management tools…

8. Tech Target – Search Cloud Computing

…is a general term used to describe the voluminous amount of unstructured and semi-structured data a company creates — data that would take too much time and cost too much money to load into a relational database for analysis…

9. Forbes

…is, Ill-defined, Intimidating, Immediate…

10. Webopedia

…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…

11. EMC

…is fundamentally about massively parallel processing using commodity building blocks to manage and analyze the data…

12. IBM

…is Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity…

13. Amazon (as stated by John Rauser – picked from Network World)

…any amount of data that’s too big to be handled by one computer…

Looks like there IS a clear consensus!

Big Data is data which cannot be handled by traditional technologies

Whether it is useful, usable, meaningful … that is a different question.

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More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
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