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What Is Big Data and How It Works

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

Many a little becomes much - Hungarian Proverb

Every day, a large amount of data is created and stored. Big data refers to this abundance of data. Traditional computer systems are finding it increasingly difficult to manage and store all of the data being generated. Big data provides an answer. Massive volumes of data can be efficiently processed with big data systems.

Big data, in its most basic form, refers to the massive amount of data generated every day. This data is obtained from a variety of sources, including social media, internet transactions, sensors, and other sources.

The Characteristics of Big Data - The three Vs

The three characteristics of big data are volume, velocity, and variety.


A volume represents the amount of data generated. Large data sets might contain hundreds or even thousands of gigabytes of information. Posts, tweets, clicks, online searches, or data from sensor-enabled equipment are all examples of unvalued data.


The speed at which data is generated is referred to as velocity. Data velocity is defined as the rate at which data is generated, distributed, and collected. Twitter messages and Facebook postings are classic examples.


The variety of data available refers to its wide range. A relational database was able to store traditional data types in a structured and logical manner. In today's world of big data, there are more unstructured data types to consider. Text, audio, and video types of unstructured and semistructured data require additional preprocessing to determine their meanings and support metadata.

Benefits of big data

Big data is larger, more complex data sets that traditional data processing software just can’t manage. But these massive volumes of data can be used to address business problems you wouldn’t have been able to tackle before.

Big data has now become a form of capital. Consider some of the world's largest IT companies. Their data contributes significantly to the value they provide. Companies are continually evaluating their data to create new products. You can make more accurate and precise business choices with an increased supply of big data that is now increasingly accessible.

Big data allows you to learn more about your company, goods, and customers, resulting in an entirely different approach to issue solving. Big data is employed in a variety of industries, including government, retail, science, and sports.

Some examples are that during the pandemic, big data was used to reduce virus transmissions, identify cases, and provide medical treatments. In technology, Google, the technology giant, was handling billions of queries per month. In science, decoding the human genome used to take ten years; now, thanks to big data, it can be done in less than a day.

History of big data - Anything big is small at the beginning.

Although the concept of big data itself is relatively new, the origins of large data sets go back to the 1960s and ‘70s when the world of data was just getting started with the first data centers and the development of the relational database.

During the early twenty-first century, people began to discover how much data users generated through online platforms such as Orkut, Facebook, and YouTube. More items and gadgets are being connected as the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves, allowing for the use of information about customer usage patterns and product performance. The possibilities for big data have risen even further with the advent of machine learning and cloud computing.

Big data use cases

Big data can help you with a variety of business tasks, ranging from customer experience to analytics. Here are a few examples.

Product development

Large corporations use big data to forecast customer demand. They create predictive models for new products and services by categorizing essential features of previous and current offerings. Companies develop, produce, and launch new products using data and analytics derived from numerous inputs.

Customer experience

Big data allows you to collect information from social media, web visits, call records, and other sources to optimize engagement experiences and maximize the value offered. Companies may use big data to deliver targeted offers and solve concerns proactively.

Machine learning

Machine learning is a trendy topic right now. The availability of huge data for training machine learning models makes this possible. We can now train machines rather than program them.

Efficiency of operation

Big data can be used to study and evaluate production, customer feedback and returns, and other aspects in order to reduce downtime and forecast future demands. Big data can also be used to improve decision-making to increase sales.

Big data challenges

While big data has a lot of potential, it is not without its limitations.

Big data is massive. Despite developing new data storage technologies, data volumes are doubling every two years. Organizations continue to struggle to keep up with their data and find effective solutions to preserve it. It takes a lot of effort to create clean data or data that is relevant to the customer and arranged in a way that allows for useful analysis. Furthermore, big data technology is evolving at a rapid speed. A few years ago, Apache Hadoop was the most widely used solution for handling large amounts of data. Then, in 2014, Apache Spark was released. Today, a hybrid of the two frameworks looks to be the ideal strategy.


Big data accounts for a significant amount of both structured and unstructured data. Volume, velocity, and variety are the three primary features of big data. Big data has numerous advantages. Businesses can use big data to boost productivity, find new possibilities, and make better decisions if they have the correct tools. It is crucial to remember, however, that big data is only as good as the people who use it. Businesses must spend on personnel training and infrastructure development to get the most out of big data.



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