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Blog: What is Big Data?

05/10/16

Information is a significant asset to an organisation, not only leveraged to assess current performance but also used to identify opportunities and threats that enterprises must manage, to remain relevant and competitive in a fast paced changing world.

Exponentially growing volumes of fast moving unstructured data with low information density is being generated by digital interactions it must now be considered alongside today’s structured high information density data sources. This data management challenge, in tandem with the need to report on historical organisation performance, is to provide advanced predictive and prescriptive analytics to process real-time data. This has given rise to Big Data.  

Big Data is categorised by:

  • Volume – enormous volumes of data being created in comparison to traditional data sources.
  • Velocity – the speed at which data is being created and analysed.
  • Variety – unstructured, semi-structured and structured data.
  • Veracity – variability in the quality of data retrieved from many different sources.

Big Data is rendering traditional management information and business analytics technology somewhat redundant in context of capability and economic viability. Data warehouses have been relied on to manage and analyse large volumes of structured data at a significant expense. 

The innovations of Hadoop and NoSQL have introduced an alternative solution able to process larger volumes of structured and unstructured data, more efficiently and economically. Sourcing data from numerous internal and external organisations also presents its significant challenges in pursuit of deriving organisational insights. 

In response, Hadoop built ‘data lakes’ have provided an ad-hoc alternative solution to data warehouses. The need for advanced analytics, to build predictive and prescriptive models, text analytics to assess unstructured data and streaming, has resulted in analytic products with this specialisation to partner with both Hadoop and Spark, a significant Hadoop partner.     

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