Big Data Everywhere


If your work is related to Big Data, but you have not heard of Big Data Everywhere Conference, don’t panic, chances are that you are just not using MapR Hadoop. This is an event sponsored by MapR and its many partners. However, the topics cover all area of Big Data, and you won’t feel discriminated if you have only been using Cloudera or Hortonworks.

The conference is held in many cities many times of a year and the one I attended is in San Diego on April 12, 2016. Traffic was really bad on Interstate 5 from Orange County to San Diego that morning, and I was 2 hours on the road and 45 minutes late. The breakfast provided was really good, so I decided to spend the 15 minutes eating instead of socializing with a full room of talented data professionals.

A full agenda is shown in the following picture, and I will summarize all the talks in this event based on my own written notes since the organizer still has not sent out the official presentation decks.

[Update 4/14/2016] Presentation full deck for the talks is available now.

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First speaker is Jim Scott, director of enterprise strategy and architecture from MapR. His topic is Streaming in the Extreme. First he explained what is the enterprise architecture with a circular diagram he drew himself covering all area of company data strategy, with an emphasis on the fact that solution architecture is not equal to enterprise architecture. Later he introduced a streaming process he implemented using MapR streaming, which, according the statistics provided, beats Apache Kafka. When being asked if he considers MapR streamong is the best among all similar technology, including Flink, Spark, Apex, Storm, etc., Jim gave the opinion that MapR streaming is definitely the best when used with MapR Hadoop.

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Next on the stage is Alex Garbarini, information technology engineer from Cisco, and his topic is Build and Operationalize Enterprise Data Lake in Big Enterprise. Being a technology company, Cisco was able to implement a data lake themselves using Hadoop that handles 2 billion records on a daily basis. The data lake is now a hub for multiple business usage including the analysis of Webex user activities.

Right after a talk about data lake, is a topic titled Going Beyond Data Lake. Vik Kapoor, director of analytics technology architecture and platforms from Pfizer talked about how they leverage the entire analytics ecosystem. They formed their practices following 4 steps: find, explore, understand, and share, which going through the data load, data wrangling, data discovery and evaluation processes and builds data products as a result. He also introduced the tools they are using for each step.

Coming up next is a panel discussion. Scott Saufferer and Robert Warner from ID Analytics answered interview questions from a host. The director of data operations and director of engineers took turns to tell the audience how they introduced Hadoop into their company, and how both teams collaborate to make the best of it.

Next on the stage is Alex Bates, a soft spoken CTO from Mtell, talking about hardware – IoT. Mtell manufactures smart machines with sensors built inside to transmit data about the status of the machines. Data is collected and processed by apps written in Spark. With the help of machine learning, they learned a lot about the machines, and created different agents to monitor anomalies and prevent failures. Also, RESTful API are created for different clients to integrate this with their monitoring tools.

When data architects and data scientists are fighting for the driver’s seats of big data groups within any organizations, it’s only fair to invite speakers from both sides in any big data conferences. Allen Day, chief scientist from MapR, contributor of many open source projects and machine learning algorithm implementation, did an awesome job explaining how to build a Genome Analysis Pipeline in simple words and diagrams that people with little knowledge of data science can understand. For those who wanted to dig deeper into this, he also provided the git link to the source code: https://github.com/allenday/spark-genome-alignment-demo.

Last but not least, Energetic Stefan Groschupf, CEO of Datameer jumped on the stage and gave a speech about how to jumpstart a big data project for any organizations. As a seasoned entrepreneur, he has a lot of experience in running an organization and his advice is simple and straightforward. Instead of spending a whole lot of money on latest technology, he suggested that a small team within the company to be formed. The members should be cross functional with different types of employees including the visionary, the reality check, the challengers and the worker bees. The team will focus on problems within the company before they bring up discussion of innovative idea or other people’s use cases. As big data project goes, the team will find a pain point, identify a few possible solutions, start from one small angle to approach it, try out different tools to tackle it as a proof of concept. A process with a successful result will then be scaled up into a full solution that could bring even more value to the company. And the core team members will also become the implementers and managers of the new process.

Believe it or not, this is exactly the kind of idea I approach my clients with as a big data consultant, and I’ve seen them become more and more confident and successful with what they are doing within a couple of years. “Great minds think alike!” That is a great feeling to go home with after a long half-day event.

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