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If Big Data wasn't on investors' radar before, it certainly is now. On April 19, Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) exploded onto the stock market scene with an IPO that priced well above its estimated range and then opened with a 100% gain.

Splunk isn't the only publicly traded play on the space though. A simple Google search provides up a multitude of links involving diverse IT vendors like Cray (NASDAQ:CRAY), Informatica (NASDAQ:INFA), Mellanox (NASDAQ:MLNX), and Teradata (NYSE:TDC). Of those, Pipeline Data views Informatica as the purest play the Big Data movement. INFA has been a Data Integration leader for several years, so it was a natural move for the company to extend itself into Big Data Integration.

Few vendors have exploited the opportunity as well as Splunk though. Our earlier Big Data related articles discussed the coming wave and meteoric rise of INFA and TDC. The latter found a savvy acquisition in Aster Data, so it should come as no surprise that its shares have risen 40% this year. It's not a double in a day, but still great return.

Going forward, both INFA and TDC have plenty of opportunity ahead. Investors who favor mid- to large-cap stocks should look into these names.

For those who favor small-caps, Pervasive Software (NASDAQ:PVSW) will inevitably hit the radar screen. Pervasive was a focus of our early work. Following a bullish initiation piece, PVSW delivered two strong quarters which sparked a 4-month, 50% rally.

Unfortunately, its Big Data unit suffered missteps thereafter, sending PVSW's shares lower. The company has since rebounded though, posting stronger results and guidance on Tuesday. The company's travails show that execution is king, even when the opportunity is this big. Nonetheless, management has historically navigated Pervasive very well and things appear to be turning around.

In the meantime, Attunity (ATTUF.OB) has taken over as the hot small cap to watch. The company just reported 100%+ revenue growth on the strength of its Big Data solutions (see"Attunity: A Big Quarter For Big Data" for our full analysis).

Attunity provides real-time data integration, an important piece of the Big Data puzzle. Many of its peers have been acquired and Gartner Group describes many of Attunity's capabilities as unique in the marketplace. It shows - the company has landed partnerships with mega-vendors like IBM (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL).

Just as importantly, Attunity has an execution minded CEO with a history of maximizing shareholder value (he sold Precise Software to Veritas for $600 million). Thus, investors have several compelling reasons to investigate the company's merits.

As for Splunk, we believe the company is at the onset of a long and fruitful journey. However, caution is warranted. SPLK trades at a premium valuation, so patience will be required to weather the inevitable volatility.

Source: Splunk Explodes On Big Data Demand -- Who's Next?