5. 'Big Data' Is A Big Deal
"Big data" went from early-adopter buzzword to full-blown industry trend -- or even an entire industry by itself -- in 2012, judging by the number of big data products that spilled out of startups and established IT vendors alike. Big data conferences packed 'em in, and industry pundits made, um, big forecasts -- such as Gartner's calculation that big data would drive $28 billion of IT spending in 2012. Hype aside, the exploding volume of information stored in the world's IT systems reached an estimated 2.7 zettabytes (or 2.7 billion terabytes) in 2012, and the need for technology to collect, store, manage and analyze all that information is very real. Big data startups like Datameer, Hortonworks, Karmasphere, Mortar Data, Qubole, Splunk and Zettaset were industry darlings while just about every established vendor jumped on the bandwagon. IBM, for example, acquired Vivisimo and its technology for accessing and analyzing big data spread across multiple repositories. Oracle put marketing muscle behind its big data Appliance (which debuted in Oct. 2011). And SAP bet heavily that its HANA in-memory database would be a hit with customers wrestling with big data challenges.