In the days when the Personal Computer was first introduced into the mass market, companies were jockeying for market position, and of course the way you do that is to append some moniker the general public can latch onto. In those days it was digital-this or that. That transitioned to e- everything, and long before the phone of the fruit variety, it morphed to i- something or other.And the process hasn’t changed much. Who can forget such classics as N-tier programming, Service Oriented Architectures, Business Intelligence and of course my current favorite, The Cloud? True, some of these are actually in use; others have long faded into the hype-cycle.“But it’s just a fad.Like so many we’ve seenbefore. ”Companies that sell things are faced with a choice – either jump on the bandwagon and use the buzzword in their products or be considered last-year’s paradigm. So of course most of them succumb to buzzword mania to stay relevant. When it works out to be a real offering, it’s a hit and the company is rewarded, and when it’s just a marketing word that doesn’t pan out into a real offering they are derided as selling hype.Enter “Big Data”. Like Cloud, this term can mean almost anything, so anyone can define it the way they wish. And of course they have – adding to the confusion and the marketing-flavor of the term.One definition of Big Data involves four V’s:Volume – The amount of data heldVelocity – The speed at which the data should be processedVariety – The variable sources, processing mechanisms and destinations requiredValue – The amount of data that is viewed as not redundant, unique, and actionableOther definitions have been proposed. I have one I like to use:Big Data is data that you aren’t able to process and use quickly enough with the technology you have now.I like this definition because it’s easy to understand, and encompasses other definitions. Also, it has the words “Don’t Panic” on the cover and is slightly cheaper than other definitions.