"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. A sure sign of maturing big data technology was the number of significant "2.0" releases this year from such companies as Datameer, DataStax, Hadapt, Karmasphere and MapR Technologies.
Market researcher Gartner calculated that big data would drive $28 billion of IT spending in 2012. Not surprising, given that the exploding volume of information stored in the world's IT systems reached an estimated 2.7 zettabytes (that's 2.7 billion terabytes) in 2012 and the need for technology to collect, store, manage and analyze all that information is very real.
Here's our list of what we think were the coolest big data products to hit the market in 2012.