Information technology’s best kept secret is optimization. Optimization is not abracadabra (magic), it is persistence in fine-tuning inputs towards getting better result. Most times, when we refer to inputs in IT terms, only one suspect comes to mind – Data. Now, you can easily identify a boy when you see one and that you can differentiate a “BIG BOY” from a “BOY’’
Now we can conveniently draw a parallel between big boy and Big Data. Not just because both are ‘big’, but because there’s no general single way of defining either of them. In fact, Big Data is called so because it is so big and complex that the normal data processing software cannot process it without crashing.
Let us describe small data; then maybe we can somehow get a grasp of what Big Data really feels like.
Small data is something like between 2MB enough to be stored in a cassette tape, 700MB enough to be stored in a CD plate, 4.7GB enough to be stored in a DVD plate, and 16GB enough to be stored in IBM’s “Titan” Hard Drive all before 1998; and that was before the web started taking shape. Google came along in 1998 and data started getting bigger requiring hundreds of hard drives; later on, Facebook came along in 2004 and the hustle for user data began. The battle line was drawn.The use of the term Big Data predates the Internet. See here and here for more history crunch.
Fast-forward to present day and… B-O-O-M!!! Big data is everywhere.Therefore it can be said that Big Data comprises of smaller sets of data in different volumes, varieties, and velocities that have outgrown available capacity to hold, process, and understand them easily.
If you have something to do online today, you are also responsible for Big Data. Whether you are sending/receiving email, updating your status on social network, checking in at eateries/malls, sharing pictures and videos, streaming video tubes, sending audio message, mining bitcoin, seeding a (pirated) movie torrent, or whatever it is that you do online, you are contributing data to the network.
Picture a scenario where advertising platforms try to make sense of these large amount of data sets for the purpose of delivering advertisements that will not annoy you, what they have in their hand is Big Data. Just so you know, mobile phones with internet connectivity are the single largest contributor to Big Data; and since some of us can’t live without smart gizmos, data about us can only get bigger looking forward.
Image credit: data analytics lab