Nope, I’m not an expert here but I keep seeing this phrase “big data” thrown around (very much like the term “cloud”) and these terms are often left open to interpretation. My advice is to spend a few minutes and research these (especially if you’re a decision maker listening to market hype).
The most succinct definition of “big data” IMHO is simply this: large datasets that require substantial resources to conduct ETL/simulation/analysis in a timely fashion. That’s it.
What I think people (including myself) can get hung up on are the ancillary associations with big data such as business intelligents (BI), storage architecture/availability, and parallelism among others. All of these will factor into purchase decisions. However, ancillary associations should not be grouped together or mixed in with the basic definition of “big data”.
For example, the decision to purchase a BI solution depends on how much pre-processed information (structure) you end up with at the end of your ETL process or simulation. Lower end BI solutions may be perfectly fine in this case. Disk performance versus cost is not part of the “big data” definition as such but remains a substantial factor in evolving a workable solution (ex: comparing IO costs between solid state disks versus magnetic platters). This next link is an interesting presentation related to the pharmaceutical industry on the choice of database software. Highly recommended even if you may not agree with everything said.
Another way I see “big data” is simply how much are you willing to spend to reach your goal. It’s old school thinking but fits nicely here. The difference now is that allied technologies that handle “big data” have only recently evolved into more cost friendly solutions.
Still confused, this is a fun (and basic) video that talks about what big data is about:
Big data purchase decisions may include solutions for processing massive amounts of “social” data, examples
Background Information: http://bigdataintegration.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-would-your-enterprises-social-graph.html