I Know Almost Nothing About Big Data

I am officially “in-between jobs”.  It’s permitted me the opportunity to determine what’s next.  Thanks to Heather Townsend and Jon Baker, authors of “The Go-To Expert”, for giving me the courage to write this blog, and for Josh Bernoff being the voice in my head while I write (which is creepy because we met only once a few years ago, and I’m following his very serious yet entertaining website).  I welcome your feedback.

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Today, I attended the vendor expo at the Big Data TechCon in Boston. I know a little bit about big data and how it can help us gain insights into system performance or interactions among employees, but it’s really only enough to be dangerous.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I learned today, not only because I gained new knowledge, but also because the sales, marketing, and engineering folks were all very forthcoming in sharing, especially with someone who has absolutely no ability to purchase their products.  What was most surprising was several companies’ willingness to provide information about jobs and openings.  Sure, I knew that attending would provide networking opportunities.  I did not expect this level of success.

Here is what I learned from several companies.  Some of this may be basic to you.  I hope that by sharing this, it might help someone.  Giving a shout-out to these companies is the least I can do for making today a very good experience.

Amazon Web Services
I asked them how a novice or small business could get its feet wet if there was a business problem they were trying to solve. They have a free tier where you can create a site and analyze mobile data within specific usage parameters.  For real analytics, there is Amazon EMR (Elastic Map Reduce), a paid, hourly service.  They also have free instructional videos and labs to help with training requirements.  They are hiring Support Engineers.

WebAction
This company provides “high velocity stream analytics from your unstructured data (server logs, alerting systems, etc.)  I asked where they are seeing traction in this area, and they mentioned several Telcos and VOIP providers using their services.

Pepperdata
big data architectureTheir sales director explained to this Hadoop novice that Pepperdata allows you to prioritize different tasks in Hadoop, as well as providing higher capacity throughput on existing hardware.  Clients include financial service companies, among others.

Dternity
This company combines tape and disk backup into a single, scalable solution.  Companies can install redundant appliances, or can utilize a hosted service (Dternity Media Cloud) to provide the backup and redundancy.

MarkLogic
This company’s tagline is “MarkLogic is the only Enterprise NoSQL database. Period.”  We discussed some projects that they helped implement, including ingesting both Lync and email conversations and helping companies understand who is talking to one another, or those who are not talking to one another and should be.  The use case was a pharma company who found two sets of researchers working on similar projects.  They are also hiring (mentioned 40+ openings, willing to hire remote), and hoping to open an office in Boston.

DiscoverText
Provides machine-learning text analytics in multiple languages.  Also a GSA Contract Holder.  Had the best T-shirt tagline “Dirty Data Cleaned Dirt Cheap” for you AC/DC fans.

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