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The Hadoop Distributed File System, or HDFS, is one key to decreased cost, as well as the Hive distributed data warehouse. Most people know that Hadoop is very scalable, but what this allows is distribution of big data processing tasks across many nodes built on cheap x86 servers. Each node costs about 4 grand because of the low cost of those servers, whereas most relational database deployments run at around $10,000 or $12,000 per terabyte, as you noted.