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Big Data: Senior News Director Dave Raffo’s take

Senior News Director Dave Raffo discusses Big Data, the latest hot topic in the storage world and one of the themes at the 2011 EMC World conference.

Recently, Big Data -- a phrase used to describe the large amount of unstructured and semi-structured data in organizations -- has developed into a hot topic in the data storage industry. The May 2011 EMC World Conference even held a central theme of Big Data. While some say the term is just a buzzword, others are claiming it’s the next big thing.

In this podcast, Executive Editor Ellen O’Brien and Senior News Director Dave Raffo of the Storage Media Group discuss Big Data and whether it’s a label being used by users, vendors or both. Having attended EMC World, Dave comments on what users had to say about the term, and discusses whether data storage administrators will be drawn into Big Data projects. The two also touch on the topic of other vendors making moves into the Big Data space.

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Dave Raffo's take on Big Data

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Ellen O’Brien: My first question is a simple one. We want to talk about what exactly people mean when they talk about Big Data. Are they talking about just having a lot of data or just a specific type of data?

Dave Raffo: Big Data is not another word for a lot of data, there's a difference. It’s basically large files, video -- data that needs to be manipulated so you can run analytics on it to unlock some business value.

For instance, you go to and you buy something. The next time you go to the site they’ll shoot you an email or it will come up on their homepage saying you bought this and they now recommend something else. That’s a Big Data example because they’re taking the information they gained and have on their storage systems, and they’re trying to gain some business value from it. That's opposed to when you buy something and they take your credit card transaction and store that, which is more like traditional storage where that just gets kept in their records and they have to keep it for compliance and bookkeeping, but don’t really do anything with it afterwards. That type of transaction would not be Big Data. But the type where they come back to you and try to do something with the information, that’s an example of Big Data.

For the rest of this conversation on Big Data, listen to the entire podcast.

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