While the term “big data” is relatively new, the act of gathering and storing large amounts of information for eventual analysis is ages old. The concept gained momentum in the early 2000s when industry analyst Doug Laney articulated the now-mainstream definition as the three Vs:
Volume – Organizations collect data from a variety of sources, including business transactions, social media, and information from sensor or machine-to-machine data. In the past, storing it would’ve been a problem – but new technologies (such as Hadoop) have eased the burden.
Velocity – Data streams in at an unprecedented speed and must be dealt with in a timely manner. RFID tags, sensors, and smart metering are driving the need to deal with torrents in near-real time.
Variety – Data comes in all types of formats – from structured, numeric data in traditional databases to unstructured text documents, email, video, audio, stock ticker data, and financial transactions.