Everyone’s talking about it. Obama used it in his campaign for Presidency. Your news feed on twitter is full of it. CATEven your friend in the HR department is now posting blogs on Big Data on LinkedIn. You want to know what it is? Here’s your 5 min read on what is big data.

First let’s take a guess on what is Big Data?

WrongGuess 1: The thousands of files in my old office building?

Guess 2: The 50 MB presentation I proudly show to my clients?

Guess 3OK. It’s the 2 Terabytes of data in my external hard drive.

So what really is it? Let’s look at a loose definition:

It is the collection of disconnected data sets that are huge in volume and generated from different sources and collected a single location.


“BORING”….. OK, I know but this is just one time information. Just swallow it. Let’s break this loose definition into pieces and understand Big Data better.

Examples of Data Sets: Text data, videos, photos, spread sheets, presentations, software logs, medical records, email, blogs, etc,

Huge in Volume: The data collected can be as huge as hundreds or thousands of Petabytes. Example: The CERN project for finding God particle generates 40 Terabytes of data every SECOND.

Different Sources: For example, it could be sales data, customer data, external paid source data, marketing information, product purchase data. The data are in different forms as illustrated above.

Single Location: Layers of sophisticated hard drives contain petabytes of such data. Now that we have broken down the definition, lets build the loose definition again with some additional information:

Big Data is a collection of data sets such as text, video, spread sheets, logs, etc., that is huge in volume (hundreds or thousands of Petabytes), generated from different sources like customer data, sales records, etc. and collected at a single location, like data centre hard drives that typically contain terabytes of data each.

Question Time: And it will make the world smarter, I saw that on TV. But HOW? Studying mammoth amounts of data will eat my entire work year; what about my sales targets?

Enter sophisticated data analytics softwares. These are specialized softwares that can make sense out of data that is fed to them. Not only can they perform trend analysis & pattern recognition but also perform improved predictive analysis with a fair amount of accuracy. Simply put, you open up a piece of software on your PC and run pre-defined analysis reports and Wallah. You got everything you need which Excel or other traditional tools would have taken hours.


I will talk about Data Analytics Softwares and the magic they do, in my next post. I hope for now you got some sense of what Big Data is all about.

Aditya Dutta

P.S. – The below you tube video link is my favourite. It is animated and simple.