Just about everyone is talking about Big Data, and I’m not only saying that because I’m conference chair for Big Data TechCon, coming up in April in Boston.

Take Microsoft, for example. On Feb. 13, the company released survey results that talked about its big customers’ biggest data challenges, and how those relate to Big Data.

In its “Big Data Trends: 2013” study, Microsoft talked to 282 U.S. IT decision-makers who are responsible for business intelligence and, presumably, other data-related issues. To quote some findings from Microsoft’s summary of that study:
• Thirty-two percent expect the amount of data they store to double in the next two to three years.
• Sixty-two percent of respondents currently store at least 100TB of data.
• Respondents reported an average of 38% of their current data as unstructured.
• Eighty-nine percent already have a dedicated budget for a Big Data solution.
• Fifty-one percent of companies surveyed are in the middle stages of planning a Big Data solution
• Thirteen percent have fully deployed a Big Data solution.
• Seventy-two percent have begun the planning process but have not yet tested or deployed a solution; of those currently planning, 76% expect to have a solution implemented in less than one year.
• Sixty-two percent said developing near-real-time predictive analytics or data-mining capabilities during the next 24 months is extremely important.
• Fifty-eight percent rated expanding data storage infrastructure and resources as extremely important.
• Fifty-three percent rated increased amounts of unstructured data to analyze as extremely important.
• Respondents expect an average of 37% growth in data during the next two to three years.

I can’t help but be delighted by the final bullet point from Microsoft’s study: “Most respondents (54%) listed industry conferences as one of the two most strategic and reliable sources of information on Big Data.”

Hope to see you at Big Data TechCon.

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Read his blog at ztrek.blogspot.com.