If the big data market exists, it's worth more than $5 billion today, according to research company Wikibon, and it's controlled primarily by leading IT heavyweights. When those enterprises' investments are coupled with ongoing innovation from dozens of up-and-comers, that figure will hit $10.2 billion by 2013 and pass $53 billion by 2017.
Or maybe not. Wikibon's calculations need to be taken with a grain or two of salt, as the company itself readily acknowledges. As it stands, there isn't a big data market per se. Rather, there are dozens of companies offering hardware, software, and services that loosely fall under the general big data umbrella -- that is, products and services for processing and analyzing sets of data that are too large for traditional database tools and technologies to handle. Big data applications can range anywhere from collecting unstructured social networking data to gauge consumer trends to advancing scientific research in medicine or climate change to predicting the accuracy of flight delays to improving computer security.
Wikibon's assessment reveals that big-name vendors like IBM, Intel, HP, and Oracle have staked a claim in the burgeoning big data space, thanks in part to their deep roots in the enterprise and in part by scooping up pure-play big data upstarts in recent months. Still, independent upstarts like Cloudera and 1010data are making inroads, delivering much-needed innovation to the space. Forty-four percent of the total $5 billion in big data revenue comes from services offerings, whereas 31 percent comes from hardware sales and 25 percent from software.
Wikibon found that IBM owns the biggest share of big data revenue at just over $1 billion. Intel's big data revenue is $765 million, while HP has the third-highest amount with $550 million. Those figures represent, at most, around 1 percent of the respective companies' total revenue. Teradata sits in the fifth spot with big data totaling $220 million, which represents 10 percent of its total revenue.