Click here to close now.


Related Topics: @BigDataExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@BigDataExpo: Article

Shots Across the Data Lake

Big Data Analytics Range War

Range Wars
The settling of the American West brought many battles between ranchers and farmers over access to water. The farmers claimed land near the water and fenced it to protect their crops. But the farmers' fences blocked the ranchers' cattle from reaching the water. Fences were cut; shots were fired; it got ugly.

About a century later, with the first tech land rush of the late1980s and early '90s - before the Web - came battles between those who wanted software and data to be centrally controlled on corporate servers and those who wanted it to be distributed to workers' desktops. Oracle and IBM versus Microsoft and Lotus. Database versus Spreadsheet.

Now, with the advent of SoMoClo (Social, Mobile, Cloud) technologies and the Big Data they create, have come battles between groups on different sides of the "Data Lake" over how it should be controlled, managed, used, and paid for. Operations versus Strategy. BI versus Data Science. Governance versus Discovery.  Oversight versus Insight.

The range wars of the Old West were not a fight over property ownership, but rather over access to natural resources. The farmers and their fences won that one, for the most part.

Those tech battles in the enterprise are fights over access to the "natural" resource of data and to the tools for managing and analyzing it.

In the '90s and most of the following decade, the farmers won again. Data was harvested from corporate systems and piled high in warehouses, with controlled accessed by selected users for milling it into Business Intelligence.

But now in the era of Big Data Analytics, it is not looking so good for the farmers. The public cloud, open source databases, and mobile tablets are all chipping away at the centralized command-and-control infrastructure down by the riverside.  And, new cloud based Big Data analytics solution providers like BigML, Yottamine (my company) and others are putting unprecedented analytical power in the hands of the data ranchers.

A Rainstorm, Not a River
Corporate data is like a river - fed by transaction tributaries and dammed into databases for controlled use in business irrigation.

Big Data is more like a relentless rainstorm - falling heavily from the cloud and flowing freely over and around corporate boundaries, with small amounts channeled into analytics and most draining to the digital deep.

Many large companies are failing to master this new data ecology because they are trying to do Big Data analytics in the same way, with the same tools as they did with BI, and that will never work. There is a lot more data, of course, but it is different data - tweets, posts, pictures, clicks, GPS, etc., not RDBMS records - and different analytics - discovery and prediction, not reporting and evaluation.

Successfully gleaning business value from the Big Data rainstorm requires new tools and maybe new rules.

Embracing Shadows
These days, tech industry content readers frequently see the term "Shadow IT" referring to how business people are using new technologies to process and analyze information without the help of "real IT".  SoMoClo by another, more sinister name.  Traditionalists see it as a threat to corporate security and stability and modernists a boon to cost control and competitiveness.

But, it really doesn't matter which view is right.  Advanced analytics on Big Data takes more computing horsepower than most companies can afford.  Jobs like machine learning from the Twitter Fire Hose will take hundreds or even thousands of processor cores and terabytes of memory (not disk!) to build accurate and timely predictive models.

Most companies will have no choice but to embrace the shadow and use AWS or some other elastic cloud computing service, and new, more scalable software tools to do effective large scale advanced analytics.

Time for New Rules?
Advanced Big Data analytics projects, the ones of a scale that only the cloud can handle, are being held back by reservations over privacy, security and liability that in most cases turn out to be needless concerns.

If the data to be analyzed were actual business records for customers and transactions as it is in the BI world, those concerns would be reasonable.  But more often than not, advanced analytics does not work that way.  Machine learning and other advanced algorithms do not look at business data. They look at statistical information derived from business data, usually in the form of an inscrutable mass of binary truth values that is only actionable to the algorithm.  That is what gets sent to the cloud, not the customer file.

If you want to do advanced cloud-scale Big Data analytics and somebody is telling you it is against the rules, you should look at the rules.  They probably don't even apply to what you are trying to do.

First User Advantage
Advanced Big Data analytics is sufficiently new and difficult that not many companies are doing much of it yet.  But where BI helps you run a tighter ship, Big Data analytics helps you sink your enemy's fleet.

Some day, technologies like high performance statistical machine learning will be ubiquitous and the business winners will be the ones who uses the software best.  But right now, solutions are still scarce and the business winners are ones willing to use the software at all.

More Stories By Tim Negris

Tim Negris is SVP, Marketing & Sales at Yottamine Analytics, a pioneering Big Data machine learning software company. He occasionally authors software industry news analysis and insights on, is a 25-year technology industry veteran with expertise in software development, database, networking, social media, cloud computing, mobile apps, analytics, and other enabling technologies.

He is recognized for ability to rapidly translate complex technical information and concepts into compelling, actionable knowledge. He is also widely credited with coining the term and co-developing the concept of the “Thin Client” computing model while working for Larry Ellison in the early days of Oracle.

Tim has also held a variety of executive and consulting roles in a numerous start-ups, and several established companies, including Sybase, Oracle, HP, Dell, and IBM. He is a frequent contributor to a number of publications and sites, focusing on technologies and their applications, and has written a number of advanced software applications for social media, video streaming, and music education.

Latest Stories
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNu...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application del...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Y...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...