March 29, 2012

Big data is to 2012 what the Cloud was in 2010. If you haven’t heard the term, you must still be using a dial-up modem. As a matter of fact, Google searches for ‘big data’ have gone up 1200% in the last 12 months, according to Andrew Sheppard at Fountainhead, a consulting firm specializing in HPC and GPU for financial services.

As we prepare our May issue on How Big Data Is Transforming Wall Street, here are the first five things I’ve gleaned that you have to know about big data:

1. Big data is broadly considered anything that is over 10 Gigabytes in size – or anything that doesn’t fit in Excel, I heard at the Hadoop in Finance conference earlier this week.

2. 90% of all the data on the planet was created in the last two years, according to IBM. In many cases, the analysis of data dwarfs the original data set.

3. Experts point to the boom in smartphones as the main reason behind the explosion in data. There are more than 5 billion mobile phones in use – almost one for every human on the planet – all recording your data.

4. But big data isn’t just about massive amounts of data. “It’s about new, unstructured data sources. […] It’s about performing data and compute together to perform better and faster analysis,” Jack Norris, VP, Marketing, at MapR Technologies, writes in a blog.

5. Apache Hadoop, the open source framework for running applications on large clusters of commodity hardware , was named after a toy elephant that belonged to the son of Doug Cutting, a former Yahoo engineer and the creator of Hadoop.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...