When you consider that there are more than 20 billion devices connected to the Internet today, most all of them generating data, and then think of the massive amounts of data being produced by Web sites, social networks, and other sources, you begin to understand the true implications of BIG DATA. Data is being collected in ever-escalating volumes, at increasingly high velocities, and in a widening variety of formats, and it's being used in increasingly diverse contexts. "Data" used to be something stored in a table in a database, but today it can be a sensor reading, a tweet, a GPS location, or almost anything el