The amount of data being created, captured, and managed worldwide is increasing at a rate that was inconceivable a few years ago. Data is a collection of discrete units of information but like the stars in the night sky taken together form an organized structure.
Unstructured data comes in many different formats including pictures, videos, audio, PDF files, spreadsheets, documents, email, and many other formats.
Sometimes unstructured data lives within a database. Sometimes the database acts as an index for the unstructured data. Often the metadata (information about the data) associated with the unstructured data is larger than the data itself. Consider the example of a set of videos. Although the files may be small in size, the information stored regarding the content within a particular video may be very big. Often unstructured data is also called big data.