Chapter 1

What Is Big Data and Why Is It Important?

Big Data is the next generation of data warehousing and business analytics and is poised to deliver top line revenues cost efficiently for enterprises. The greatest part about this phenomenon is the rapid pace of innovation and change; where we are today is not where we’ll be in just two years and definitely not where we’ll be in a decade.

Just think about all the great stories you will tell your grandchildren about the early days of the twenty-first century, when the Age of Big Data Analytics was in its infancy.

This new age didn’t suddenly emerge. It’s not an overnight phenomenon. It’s been coming for a while. It has many deep roots and many branches. In fact, if you speak with most data industry veterans, Big Data has been around for decades for firms that have been handling tons of transactional data over the years—even dating back to the mainframe era. The reasons for this new age are varied and complex, so let’s reduce them to a handful that will be easy to remember in case someone corners you at a cocktail party and demands a quick explanation of what’s really going on. Here’s our standard answer in three parts:

1. Computing perfect storm. Big Data analytics are the natural result of four major global trends: Moore’s Law (which basically says that technology always gets cheaper), mobile computing (that smart phone or mobile tablet in your hand), social networking (Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, etc.), and cloud computing ...

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