Structure 2010 – Dealing with the Big Data Tsunami – Event Report

Last week I was on a panel for Big Data at GigaOM’s Structure 2010. As usual, it was very well run and there was a large throng of silicon valley luminaries ranging from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists scattered in with some large customers and users of technology. We clearly have moved on a long way from the days when I was told to change my slides and remove the cloud graphic and replace it with a box because “clouds are cloudy” (direct quotation from a tier one venture capitalist – I wish to protect his identity to avoid personal embarrassment). On the Big Data front, on the panel alongside SQLstream were a Hadoop vendor and a high-performance column store data warehouse vendor. The other two panelists were users of “big data” technologies. It was interesting to discover that we already had two implementations where SQLstream operates in concert with or in parallel with the other two panelist vendors’ technologies. Click on the video below to listen to the complete panel session.

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SQLstream is already the market leader in applying stream computing to Intelligent Transportation Systems, and we also have the opportunity to provide a similar impact to the Cloud Computing Service Monitoring space. It seems we have exactly the perfect solution to provide real-time insights into service usage, bottlenecks, error rates and service level compliance. And you can add regulatory compliance to that list too – from the continuous alerting side to complement the excellent historical solutions that are out there.

From the presentations at the show, it is clear that Cloud Computing has truly come of age. SQLstream already offers cloud-based solutions for real-time Big Data with stream processing uses cloud services. The latest emerging cloud solutions fill in many of the former technology gaps, allowing seamless integration into or transition from traditional data centers. You can even run your own private clouds leveraging the same APIs available on the public clouds.

There is even a customer (Mozilla) that uses all three technology approaches for download analytics – Hadoop in the form of HBase and a column store data warehouse for historical SQL queries over downloads, and SQLstream to generate high-performance continuous real-time analytics and reporting on download statistics for all versions of FireFox. This clearly demonstrates that there is a role for each of the Big Data technologies high-lighted on the panel, and an interesting and growing market opportunity. It also indicates some clear partnership opportunities.

I look forward to seeing the developments in our space and in cloud computing over the coming year and hope to be invited back again soon. We were originally present on the Big Data panel at GigaOm’s inaugural Structure 2008 event, so I guess we should be set for a reappearance at Structure 2012?! If so, I am sure we will have some exciting new stories to share.

Here is a link to the video recording of the panel session. A big thank-you to Phil Hendrix for his excellent moderation of the panel and the professional preparation work he did beforehand so that the actual event went smoothly.