'Big Data' Isn't Just About Volume: Gartner

"Big data" is also about the increasing number of data types that are coming into systems, which need to be handled differently than simple email, data logs and credit card records. It's also about the speed at which all this data is moving from endpoints into storage.

The IT term "big data" is currently getting close to the same hot-button treatment that cloud computing did five years ago, and for good reason.

The continued increasing amount of business data-created both by humans and by machines-is having major effects on IT systems, which are struggling to store, tier and make easily accessible all that information.

But it's not just about high volumes of data. It's also about the increasing number of data types that are coming into systems, which need to be handled differently from simple email, data logs and credit card records. It's also about the speed at which all this data is moving from endpoints into storage.

Along these lines, IT researcher Gartner came out June 27 with a report that claims many IT decision makers are attempting to manage big-data problems by focusing exclusively on the high volumes of information-to the exclusion of the other facets of information management, which could lead to difficulties later.

"Today's information management disciplines and technologies are simply not up to the task of handling all these dynamics," said Gartner Research Vice President Mark Beyer. "Information managers must fundamentally rethink their approach to data by planning for all the dimensions of information management.

"The business' demand for access to the vast resources of big data gives information managers an opportunity to alter the way the enterprise uses information. IT leaders must educate their business counterparts on the challenges while ensuring some degree of control and coordination so that the big-data opportunity doesn't become big-data chaos, which may raise compliance risks, increase costs and create yet more silos," he said.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...