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What is Big Data?

Posted in Facts   LAST UPDATED: JUNE 5, 2021

    Data is any information in the form of images, text, videos, symbols, numbers which are stored and transmitted from one device to another in the form of electrical signals through some communication medium. Let’s dive in to learn about Big Data.


    The Term: Big Data

    The Big Data term came to be used in the 1990s and John Mashey is credited for popularizing this term. Big Data generally includes an enormous set of data that cannot be managed by common software tools. It requires certain technique integrated with the technologies which analyze the diverse, complex and massive amount of data.

    Introduction to Big Data

    With the continuous evolution of technology, there has been an abrupt increase in the amount of data with time. The data has so much grown in volume that the traditional data management methods and tools were not able to store or process the data efficiently. This huge volume of complex data is called Big Data.

    Some examples of Big Data are:

    • About 1 TB of new trade data in a single day is generated alone by The New York Stock Exchange.
    • People add more than 500 TB of new data on various social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram every single day in the form of videos, photos, messages, comments.
    • More can 10 TB of data is generated during a 30 minutes flight of a single Jet engine and there are several Jet engine flights every single day.

    Types of Big Data:

    Big Data can be categorized into 4 types:

    • Structured: The data stored in a fixed format is known as structured data, for example, the data stored in relational database management systems(DBMS) or Tables.

    • Unstructured – The data which is not stored in a fixed format is called unstructured data, for example, a combination of text files, images, videos, numbers stored within the database of the organizations, such as Google Search in its raw form or unstructured format.

    • Semi-structured – The data stored in the files, such as XML files, seems to be structured but in actuality, it is present in an unstructured format. For example, personal data stored in the XML file.

    Characteristics of Big Data

    Following characteristics can be used to describe Big Data:

    • Volume – Volume is one of the most fundamental characteristics which are required to be considered while learning about Big Data. The size of the stored and transmitted data determines the value of the data. Big Data, as the name suggests is data with enormous size in terms of volume.
    • Variety – The data can come from various sources and in various forms (structured, unstructured, semistructured). With the advent of the new technology, the is present everywhere today in the form of emails, photos, videos, pdfs, audio, and many more in unstructured or raw form which creates issues regarding its storage and analyzing. Therefore, variety is the second most important characteristic which defines Big Data.
    • Velocity – The data is generated nowadays at a massive and continuous speed to meet the demands of the people. Big Data Velocity refers to the speed at which the data flows from various sources such as networks, applications, mobile devices, and business processes.
    • Variability – The data is produced very inconsistently and thus the efforts to handle and manage the enormous amount of data are in vain.

    Advantages of Big Data Processing

    Effectively processing Big Data has great advantages. Some of them are:

    • Improved Business Strategies – More effective business strategies can be developed by using outside intelligence by accessing social data from search engines and websites.
    • Improved Services for Customers – The customer responses can be evaluated by using the technologies for natural language processing. Therefore, Big Data technologies are replacing the traditional systems of customer feedback systems at a faster pace.
    • Efficiency in Better Operation – Big Data Technologies offer a staging area or the landing zone to be created for the new data before it is decided what data should be added to the data warehouse. The infrequently accessed data can be offloaded by the integration of the technologies of Big Data and Data warehouses.

    Applications of Big Data:

    • Increased job opportunities – The demand for information management specialists in many esteemed companies, including Oracle Corporation, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, EMC, and HP is increasing rapidly.
    • Effective exchange of information – The exchange of information through telecommunication is about 667 exabytes annually in 2014. About one-third of stored information is only in the form of alphanumeric text and images offering the most useful format for Big Data technologies.


    Big data is the enormous amount of data generated daily on various social media websites, mobile devices, applications, sensors that can be present in the structured, unstructured, and semi-structured form. The study of characteristics of Big Data offers many advantages to the organizations, such as improved business strategies, improved services for customers, and efficiency in better operation of the organization.

    Published by: prachimahajan
    Tags:DataBig DataData ScienceData Tools