As companies collect more data on how consumers interact with their businesses, the Hadoop open source storage system is emerging as a key technology for breaking up large chunks of data into smaller pieces, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Companies use Hadoop to manage data businesses generate through websites, email systems and other digital technologies.

Recent funding in Hadoop vendors underscores how venture capitalists see big bucks in managing Big Data. Last month, Hadoop providers Cloudera Inc., Hortonworks Inc. and Platfora Inc. received a collective $1 billion from investors convinced that they are onto something big.

But what is Hadoop and how...

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