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The 5 Vs of Big Data

Posted by Elorie Knilans on Jul 29, 2014 11:30:42 AM

In the past, the term “big data” has served as a catch all phrase for the massive amounts of information available and collected in the digital world. Today, big data is being called the emerging power of the 21st century and is serving as much more than a buzzword, acting as a huge disruptor in the technology channel. With a growth rate of 50% a year, harnessing all of the components of big data presents a real challenge.

In a 2001 MetaGroup publication, Gartner analyst Doug Laney introduced the 3 V's of data management, defining the 3 main components of data as volume, velocity and variety.

Volume –Volume refers to the vast amounts of data that is generated every second. With 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last 2 years (1),  the volume of data that is being collected daily is what presents immediate challenges for businesses.

Velocity –Velocity refers to the speed at which new data is generated and the speed at which it moves around. For example, The New York Stock Exchange captures about 1 terabyte of trade information daily(2). Reacting fast enough and analyzing the streaming data is troubling to businesses, with speeds and peak periods often inconsistent.

Variety – Refers to the different forms of data that we collect and use. Data comes in different formats, such as structured and unstructured. To make matters even more challenging, because of the explosion of data generated by social media sources, 80 to 85 percent of all the world’s data is now unstructured (text, audio, video, click streams, log files and so on)(3).

As the years have continued and the amount of data produced dramatically increases, we now know much more about what defines big data, and IBM has introduced a fourth V, Veracity, as outlined in their infographic.

Veracity – The average billion dollar company is losing $130 million a year due to poor data management (4). Veracity refers to the uncertainty surrounding data, which is due to data inconsistency and incompleteness, which leads to another challenge, keeping big data organized.

The volume, velocity, variety and veracity of data that is being generated today goes beyond what traditional analytics systems can handle in a timely and efficient manner. This leads to the fifth V that organizations are struggling with, finding the Value within their data.

Value - Through effective data mining and analytics, the massive amount of data that we collect throughout the normal course of doing business can be put to good use and yield value and business opportunities. By applying data mining and analytics to expose valuable business information embedded in structured, unstructured, and streaming data and data warehouses, this insight can be used to help revamp supply chains, improve program planning, track sales and marketing activities, measure performance across channels, and transform into an on-demand business. A big data strategy gives businesses the capability to better analyze this data with a goal of accelerating profitable growth.

The potential in big data is huge. Turn your big data into big business by recognizing the value in your data.



1.  Big Data, for Better or Worse: 90% of World's Data Generated over Last Two Years.

2. New York Stock Exchange Ticks on Data Warehouse Appliances.

3. TerraEchos Kairos on IBM PowerLinux Servers.

4. The Rising Data Deluge Opportunity.

Tags: Business, IBM, Technologies, Big Data and Analytics, Sales