What is Big Data and How Can We Manage It?

by Renee L
In his article “‘Big Data’ Technologies Emerge to Battle Large, Complex Data Sets,” Mark Whitehorn talks about the new database features that help organizations easily store, manage, and analyze huge amounts of data. The term “big data” is defined as large volumes of structured data (eg. text) and semi-structured data (eg. images). Organizations find it difficult to deal with semi-structured data, for the databases they use are usually relational databases, which store data in tables comprising rows and columns. These columnar databases work very well with well-structured data because it makes data faster to read; however, it doesn’t do much good for semi-structured data. That is why experts have came up with new technologies that can easily store big data. Such technologies are NoSQL, Hadoop, and MapReduce. NoSQL is a non-relational, distributed, and open source database and it can handle large amounts of data across many servers. Hadoop is an open source shared storage system and provide redundant storage and MapReduce is a software framework and programming model that can combine and organize huge amounts of data from many different sources. With these new technologies, organizations are able to cope with large volumes of both structured and semi-structured data and can add more value to their service with customers.

In relation to the class’s lectures, we have learned the characteristics of a relational database model and how it holds structured data. Even though we have not tried the semi-structured application, we do know that databases, such as the relational database system, can store both types of data.

I think this information is good knowledge to have because when we step into the workforce, some of us may have database-related jobs which require overseeing and grabbing images or documents from a database, such as assisting doctors who want to store and compare x-ray pictures of a patient or storing pictures of clients/patients. It’s good to see that database systems are advancing more and more; therefore, making organizations more efficient and effective.


Whitehorn, M. W. (2011). ‘Big data’ technologies emerge to battle large, complex data sets.SearchDataManagement, Retrieved from http://searchdatamanagement.techtarget.co.uk/news/2240111952/Big-data-technologies-emerge-to-battle-large-complex-data-sets

2 thoughts on “What is Big Data and How Can We Manage It?

  • May 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    This article was really interesting to me in knowing what is Big Data. In knowing how to manage it is very helpful in real life experience in the IT field especially when dealing with Database systems.

  • May 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    I found this article interesting, and it taught me what Big Data is. I find it impressive that whole new ways to storing data were needed to be invented for Big Data, such as NoSQL and Hadoop. I would be interested in furthering my knowledge about unstructured data as well.

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