It’s rare to hear Microsoft breaking any kind of record these days, which is why I thought this one in the big data arena was worth noting. The Redmond software behemoth just beat the MinuteSort benchmark, or the amount of data that can be sorted in 60 seconds or less. The Microsoft team sorted almost three times the amount of data (1,401 gigabytes vs. 500 gigabytes) with about one-sixth the hardware resources (1,033 disks across 250 machines versus 5,624 disks across 1,406 machines) used by the previous record holder, a team from Yahoo! that set the mark in 2009. Microsoft expects to use the research to power its bing search engine, but says its breakthrough technology and approach to the sorting challenge would be applicable to any big data application that required high performance.