Oracle founder Larry Ellison would like you to believe he isn't worried about the competition — whether it's coming from established technology industry giants like IBM, Microsoft and SAP or big data/cloud era natives like MapR, Tableau and Workday.

But if that's the case, why did his company send Oracle-branded Teslas to Atlanta, Chicago and New York City this week, offering free rides to anyone who wearing a badge from the Microsoft Ignite, Workday Rising and Strata + Hadoop World Conferences?

Next year sponsor the conference Larry, or at least buy a booth.

But enough about that. Read on to find the news that Ellison might have not wanted in the spotlight.

At O'Reilly Strata + Hadoop World, Put Data to Work

One of the challenges of analyzing and garnering knowledge from big data and IoT is setting up the infrastructure, the platforms and creating the tools that make it possible. It's hard to do, but you can't put data to work until it is done.

Two vendors at Strata + Hadoop World held at New York City's Javits Center, offered approaches to lighten the burden: SAP through its acquisition of Altiscale, a Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) provider, and IBM through Project DataWorks.

Jack Norris "Make Data Great Again"
Other vendors at the conference were less interested in talking about cloud and more interested in talking about data platforms. Jack Norris, senior vice president, MapR parodied Donald Trump from the big stage during his presentation "Make Data Great Again." 

He argued that his company’s patented Converged Data Platform can not only help enterprises reduce costs and drive innovation, but that its newly announced event-driven microservices can process a high speed stream of incoming data. The microservices can also be used to build separate data pipelines for different types of analytics. 

The end result? Meaningful insights faster.

Hadoop Isn't Going Anywhere

There was some talk at Strata + Hadoop World as to whether Hadoop was dead. It's not an entirely new question, last year the suggestion was raised of changing the name of the conference to Spark World

But much as tech prognosticators love to claim one tech or another is dead, Hadoop is not dead. As Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular explained in a post-conference blog post, “newer technologies and the rise of the cloud will change Hadoop to something else."

What the "something else" will look like is up for grabs and a cause of concern for some. 

Vendors like Hortonworks, IBM, Microsoft (via its Hadoop in the cloud offering HD Insight), Pivotal and others follow ODPi, which provides specifications for common Apache Hadoop runtime and operations, reference implementations and test suites. ODPi removes cost and complexity and accelerates the development of Big Data solutions. At Strata, ODPI announced the addition of Apache Hive to the ODPi runtime specification.

Some Hadoop distribution providers, like MapR and Cloudera, do not believe ODPi is the right approach and have veered off in other directions. Cloudera subscribes to a "one platform initiative" which consists of Apache Hadoop and the latest open source technologies (including Apache Spark and Apache Kudu among many, many others).

Nuts and bolts aside, much of the Strata Conference was about getting value out of these technologies  which is something that doesn't seem to be happening at companies often enough. While the conference sold out the massive Javits Center it seems that, according to Gartner analyst Merv Adrian only 15 percent of companies deploy their big data projects into production.

Microsoft Machine Learning & Data Science Summit 2016

Though many Microsoft Ignite attendees might have missed it among the 1400 plus sessions, Microsoft held its inaugural Microsoft Machine Learning & Data Science Summit 2016 during the conference in Atlanta. 

There Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of the Data Group at Microsoft gave a dazzling presentation about the wealth of possibilities that the cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning can bring to companies, individuals and the world.

Sirosh’s most interesting claim? "The cloud is the brain of the connected planet."

It seems that Algorithms, Cloud, the Internet of Things and Data (acronym alert: the combination of the aforementioned terms will be referred to as ACID) will take over where relational databases left off. And the application of an Intelligent DB, Intelligent Lake, Deep Intelligence, Machine + Human Intelligence and Intelligent Bots (on the Azure Cloud, of course) will help us build new applications for everything from better customer experiences, to smarter ways of educating students, to growing loyal customers. It's a compelling talk, the video is available here

Learning Opportunities

Whether you're a data scientist or not, it's worth watching.

Workday Introduces Data as a Service

Cloud vendors host a lot of data on behalf of their customers. Having access to that aggregated data could provide businesses with insights otherwise unobtainable. 

Workday, for example, has information from 1350 employers and 19 million workers consisting of data on everything from organizational structures and compensation, to information around skills and financial metrics, such as revenue and days sales outstanding.

To put such data to work, Workday announced a data sharing program at Workday Rising, its user conference in Chicago. Analyzing that aggregated data could provide participants in the program real-time insight into things like compensation data, attrition data, employee behavior and more.

We asked Workday what it plans to do with Platfora (it signed a definitive deal to acquire the big data crunching analytics provider in July) but it wasn't ready to reveal much yet. The one thing we do know is that it is not a bolt-on acquisition, the company plans to weave it into the fabric of Workday.

"We never bolt on solutions because we believe our customers need applications built on one technology foundation, resulting in just a single version of Workday," wrote Mark Frandsen, executive vice president of Products, Support and Delivery at Workday.

SAP Also Moves into Data as a Service

Walldorf, Germany-based SAP announced its acquisition of PLAT.ONE this week, an enterprise-grade IoT provider that simplifies the process of creating, deploying and managing complex IoT solutions.

SAP also pledged to invest €2 billion over five years to help organizations leverage the proliferation of sensors, smart devices and big data that is transforming business with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller was with SAP CEO Bill McDermott this week, where he discovered that SAP was getting into the DaaS business too.

"DaaS came out of the blue from Bill in his extra closing remarks," Mueller told CMSWire. "I asked what can the attendees do to drive digital disruption forward."

Mueller noted that it was a good move on SAP's behalf. "We (Constellation Research) predict selling data to be a substantial — up to 20 percent revenue stream for some enterprises by 2020," he said.

Title image NASA