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Virginia Backaitis News & Analysis

Big Data Bits: Strata + Hadoop World Rewind

Last week was huge in the booming world of big data with vendors simultaneously chasing market share and sharing innovations on the big stage at Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, Calif.

If you have a big data product or service to sell, there may not be a better opportunity. After all, there’s a captive audience that paid big bucks and committed their time to be there. Attendees genuinely want to hear what you have to say. This is why so many vendor announcements are made at, or around, the conference.

Putting forth the best you have to offer while on the big stage, without sounding like an infomercial or slamming the competition seems to challenge some, though. Here’s the secret, strut your best stuff, your grandest vision and your ability to deliver, and the customers you want to win over will see and hear, only you. Knock a competitor, even if you don’t out rightly name them, and there are two of you sharing the spotlight. Is that what you want customers to remember?

Enough said.

Google Joins the BYOD Party

For a while it seemed that Google was so busy getting geeky with glasses and driverless cars that it was blind to the big opportunity directly in front of it — bringing enterprise level security to the nearly 1 billion Android mobile devices that, in some way or another, are used on the job or for work purposes every day.

“For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals,” said Rajen Sheth, director of product management, Android and Chrome for Work at Google.

“But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace,” he added, noting that the business and innovation potential on these devices is for the most part, untapped.

And though Google initially spoke about separating work data and personal data on mobile devices at its I/O Conference last June, it didn’t make Android for Work available to the masses until now.

Are Hortonworks Numbers Better Than You Think?

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When the analysts pore over Hortonworks financial results this morning, company President Herb Cunitz thinks he knows what they will say. Some will note that the Hadoop distro provider beat the street. But others will say it missed the mark when it comes to revenues, as much of the tech press suggested yesterday.

“The street thought we’d come in at $13.5 million and we brought in $16.7 million,” he said.

So why are articles on the web at the moment suggesting that Hortonworks’ fourth quarter revenues were $12.7 million. Fuzzy math?

Not really. It might just be a difference between  GAAP — the acronym for generally accepted accounting principles — and non-GAAP figures, said Cunitz.

AirWatch by VMware Shakes Up Enterprise Mobility Management

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When VMware spent $1.54 billion to acquire Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) startup AirWatch last year, it raised plenty of eyebrows.

Some saw it as an act of desperation: VMware didn’t have a strong mobile play at a time when personal computers were becoming less and less of an endpoint.

Others saw it as brilliant: AirWatch understood something that many of its competitors did not — namely that “your smart phone or tablet is your computer” and that companies would need to go beyond safeguarding email and file sharing to protecting application data in transit as well.

As with any acquisition, there was also the question of integration. Would Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware wreck everything that worked about Atlanta, Ga.-based AirWatch?

That doesn’t seem to have happened, especially in the wake of today's release of AirWatch8.

Who Wants an Open Data Platform Anyways?

It turns out that some people do, in fact, want an Open Data Platform.

Despite all of the brouhaha that might have gone down last week, first around Pivotal Software’s Data Event and then at Strata and Hadoop World, some of the vendors and companies that have signed onto the Open Data Platform (ODP) initiative are calling it, “An answer to our Hadoop prayers.” The aforementioned quote comes from Scott Gnau, president of Teradata Labs.

Simon Schmidt, the chief data architect at Union Bank, provided a reason as to why the ODP — a tested reference core of open source Apache Hadoop, Apache Ambari and related Apache source artifacts — was vital for an enterprise like his.

“We can’t maintain an internal staff to do all the testing, compatibility testing and researching of every piece of technology that comes along,” he said, adding that “having some industry people backing these things, giving us the type of indemnification that we require make this (a big data platform) a viable option for us for the long term.”

That statement, perhaps, answers the question that Gartner Analyst Nick Heudecker posed when we interviewed him shortly after the ODP announcement. ”It’s not clear who’s asking for this.”

Does Hadoop Need Saving?

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It was a big week for big data in Silicon Valley where O’Reilly’s Strata & Hadoop World Conference is ending today. The star of the show might have been data scientist Vijay Subramanian of Rent the Runway whose company rents Oscar-worthy gowns (that most of us can’t afford to buy) for our one-night-only Cinderella moments. Or maybe it was data scientist Noelle Sio of Pivotal Labs who volunteered at CrisisTextLine which helps connect teens in trouble with the volunteer counselors who might help them. Or possibly President Barack Obama who streamed in via video to introduce DJ Patil as the United States’ Chief Data Scientist. Never mind all the vendors like Microsoft and MapR who made some impressive announcements.

But instead the halls were filled with talk about the news that Pivotal Software made when it open sourced the components of its big data suite (which we predicted and is unquestionably good news for everyone) and announced the Open Data Platform (ODP), an initiative that brings together GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Splunk, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Teradata, and VMware (and is open to other companies that want to join).

Why Salesforce Analytics Cloud May Be a Big Deal

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One of the big myths around business analytics, at this point in time, is that it's democratized. That the average business user can grab a dataset, ask questions around it, and glean the insights needed to take informed action on the spur of the moment, regardless of where they are and what kind of screen they‘re staring at.

The next time someone tells you this, say “show me.” Odds are that you’ll discover that when they say “average,” it doesn’t include most of us. And that “democratized” refers to a wider variety of data workers, meaning that they don’t necessarily have to be data scientists, statistical whizzes or know how to work with R, but it’s a pretty good bet that terms like “data profiling,” "data modeling” and Analytics will show up on their resumes more often than “exceeded quota.” 

MapR Closes the Big Data-to-Action Loop

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Everyone knows the time from data-to-action can be critical to winning business, regardless of the variety, velocity, variability and volume of information involved in the process.

And in a world where data is created not only at a pace that is challenging to even ponder but also streams from the Internet of Things (IoT), data lakes are so broad and so deep that making sense of anything in them in real time and reacting accordingly seems unfathomable. Add globally distributed data, and forget about it.

Or maybe not. Because MapR’s latest release, which includes Hadoop has been built for the real time, data-centric enterprise. It leverages table replication features designed to extend access to “big and fast” data enabling multiple instances to be updated in different locations, with all the changes synchronized across them.

“Real time is not just about running a query. It’s also about how and where and how quickly information is processed and the action an organization is going to take,” said Jack Norris, the MapR's chief marketing officer.

Microsoft Sends Productivity to the Stratosphere via Cloud Integrations

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If Steve Jobs were still alive, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella would give him a kiss. Ok, maybe that’s going too far, but a hug or a warm handshake certainly isn’t. After all, that’s what Nadella offered Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff.

Today Microsoft announced that Office for iPad and iPhone — which have seen more than 80 million downloads to date — is also available for third-party storage providers via an open API. “We want Office to be the preferred way to work with documents no matter where they’re stored,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

Or as Damon Tompkins, corporate vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Microsoft partner Metavis recently explained in a blog post, Microsoft "plans to be the go-to for all you do, in other words, it wants to be your gateway to the cloud.”

EMC/VMware Spinoff Pivotal Tests Big Data's Golden Rule

What’s good for the community is good for business. This is the new golden rule. Or at least that seems to be the case in the world of big data, where most commercial solutions are open source at their core.

“Enterprises don’t want lock-in,” said Michael Cucci, a marketing manager at EMC/VMware spinoff Pivotal Software, during an interview last week. He added that companies want to be able to influence the future of the technology that they use to drive their businesses. In fact it's practically a must. “It has to be open source or the conversation doesn’t begin,” he explained.

With realizations like this, how do you sell (even the best) a big data platform that’s largely proprietary?

It turns out that maybe you don’t.

What Big Secret Will Pivotal Unveil Next Week?

While it’s no secret that Pivotal is making a big announcement on Feb. 17 during which it will evangelize about a new, “groundbreaking” approach to big data, who exactly is showing up to its party remains to be seen, as is what they will be open sourcing and how they will be spinning it.

But here’s the deal, as time passes, people talk and wheels turn in everyone’s heads. Who will Pivotal’s “special industry guest” be? Does it really know “What’s next in big data”?  

Big Data Gets Smarter [Infographic]

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Data scientists may be scarce, but big data news certainly isn’t. Quite frankly it’s hard to keep up with it all.

While in a world of unlimited space and time we’d be able to shed light on everything that’s notable, we can’t because our world is a bit more limited. So what we’ve chosen to do this week is bring you the stories we would have covered in long form had we had the bandwidth.

You Go Girl! Jive's Got a New CEO

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Silicon Valley isn’t known for its plethora of female CEO’s, but now it can proudly claim one more — Jive Software’s Elisa Steele.

Steele, who joined the social business software provider only 13 months ago, has proven herself in short order. She started as the executive vice president (EVP) of strategy and chief marketing officer in January 2014, was promoted to EVP of marketing and products last August, and to president of Jive in November when former CEO Tony Zingale retired.

Hitachi Buys Pentaho to Build Internet of Things That Matter

Managing all the data generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) is both a daunting task and a tremendous opportunity. The company that does it well, first, and for the right reasons could have an unprecedented ability to impact the world in a positive way.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) wants to be that company and it believes that adding big data analytics capabilities to its portfolio is key. So it goes to follow that today it announced its intent to acquire BI vendor Pentaho, which is best known for its big data platform that simplifies preparing and blending all types of data and includes a spectrum of tools that enable users to easily analyze, visualize, explore, report insights and predict outcomes.

Hadoop's Future Might Take a Cloud Foundry-Like Route

Maybe it’s not yet a pattern, but we wouldn’t call it coincidence either. Pivotal, a spinoff from VMware and EMC, has a way of upstaging everyone else in the world of big data by making market-shifting announcements just one day before everyone else makes theirs at major big data (3rd platform) conferences.

It did it on February 25, 2013 when they announced Pivotal HD, stealing the spotlight from Cloudera, MapR, Intel, Wandisco and others who broke their news at O’Reilly’s Strata Conference the next day. It did it again on November 12, 2013 when they announced the launch of their multi-cloud enterprise Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) just ahead of AWS’ annual conference.

So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that it’ll be up to it again next week on February 17 when it has scheduled a webcast to update the world on its “New Approach to Big Data.” This is just one day before their competitors, collaborators and those who fall somewhere in between are slated to make their own big data announcements at O’Reilly’s Strata+ Hadoop World Conference in San Jose, Calif.

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