Big data is any data set too big to fit into Excel.

 

As evidenced in the following laments:

“There must be some software or solution that can handle a lot more data than excel without getting too complicated.” – Quora question 
“Explaining the 8 Weaknesses of Traditional Excel” – product pitch from PowerPivot, an Excel add-on.
“Point being: a lot of us are going to be working with large datasets soon, if we’re not already. And while the current toolset of choice – Excel – has its strengths, that doesn’t happy to be one of them. So either it gets there, or someone goes island hopping beyond the most popular spreadsheet product in history and defines the user interface and experience for Big Data.” Read more: http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2009/11/19/whats-after-excel-big-data-and-the-future-of-spreadsheets/#ixzz2IZ4jRn1u
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