Big data is reaching the peak of its hype, Gartner says

Big data is a big deal, but there’s a lot of hype in the market that over-promises what this technology can do.

Each year Gartner gives buzzwords a reality check by publishing its Hype Cycle report. The latest one focusing on big data shows that the industry is just reaching the peak of its hype right now, with vendors flocking to the market, customers getting anxious that they don’t yet fully understand the technology, and the expectations about what big data can do for an organization being over-inflated.

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The good news is that after the hype wears down Gartner still expects big data management to be a critical asset for businesses. Here’s Gartner’s Hype Cycle for big data:

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Credit: Gartner

Gartner's 2013 Hype Cycle for Big Data.

Some interesting notes: Early in the Hype Cycle, meaning these trends have not yet hit the peak of their inflated expectations, are graph databases and e-commerce focused big data initiatives. Expect more hype in these areas in the near future. Of the 39 technologies listed in the Hype Cycle report, a whopping 14 are in the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” category at the top of the Hype Cycle. Buzzwords like the Internet of Things, SQL interfaces for Hadoop, video search and key-value store databases are all at the peak of their hype right now.

After the buzz about technologies wears off somewhat though, they fall into the trough of disillusionment, then into a slope of enlightenment and finally into a plateau of productivity where these technologies are actually meaningful for organizations. Social analytics, Hadoop distributions, in-memory grids and cloud computing are all in that trough, while social media monitors, speech recognition and predictive analytics are finally entering the phase of being meaningfully productive for the enterprise.

The overall thesis is that big data is a big and important industry for both vendors and customers. But it’s early yet and the hype is at its height.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.  

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