Big Data in Austin, Dell World 2014

Categories: Partners

I am just on my way back from spending a few days at Dell World and I can tell you that there were three things on the minds of the conference attendees: BBQ, music, and big data. Yes, that’s right, BIG DATA! Big data was at every corner I turned at Dell World this year, a testament to Intel’s General Manager of Data Center Group, Diane Bryant’s comment on how “…big data and Hadoop will dwarf all of them.”

What is big data?

On Wednesday, Michael Dell opened Dell World from the main stage with a keynote highlighting how Dell has been on a mission to help customers thrive in a world “redefined by the forces of cloud, big data, mobility, and security.”

Following Michael Dell’s keynote, Cloudera’s very own Tom Reilly shared the stage with fellow panelists Michael Chui (Partner, McKinsey Global Institute), Tom Hill (Executive Director, Dell Analytics), Shyam Sankar (President, Palantir) in a panel lead by Geoff Colvin (Senior Editor-at-Large, Fortune Magazine), in sharing thoughts on the most important things Dell World attendees need to keep in mind when putting big data to work.

The panel started with a discussion on the definition of big data and the value of ‘doing’ big data. While everyone agreed on a few common aspects that were generally used to define big data (Gartner’s three V’s: volume, variety, and velocity of data), the panelists definitely had their own nuanced definitions. Tom mentioned how he viewed big data as “new data”, or the ability to remove silos and have visibility to all data, the right data, and the ability to derive information out of data.

The panelists then went on to discuss the practical challenges in big data. Unanimously, the panelists agreed that the immediate challenges for a wide adoption of big data are to: identify the business questions, ensure security, expedite data cleansing, and find the right talent.

While the panelists can only provide words of wisdom on how to identify the business questions and how/where to seek the right talent, the panelists agreed that with the industry maturing, vendors are providing the technologies to ensure that an enterprise data hub has end-to-end security for all data. The vendors are also collaborating to provide a bottom-to-top stack to expedite data aggregation, integration, and cleansing, allowing data scientists more time to spend on data analysis and less time used on being a “data janitor”.


See Big Data in Action in the Intel Booth

In the Intel booth, the Cloudera kiosk was surrounded by people wanting to know how to use Cloudera Enterprise and our partner’s technology, Tableau Desktop, to answer the ultimate question, “Who is the better cold-weather NFL quarterback? “

We showcased Cloudera Navigator to quickly visualize what data sets we used, which field we merged, and who else was using this data set for analysis.


We then switched over to Tableau Desktop, leveraging its integration to Cloudera’s SQL interface, Cloudera Impala, to manipulate the questions posed to data sets of 14 years of NFL play-by-play data, 14 years of weather data, and nation-wide stadium data. Audiences wanted us to take out games played in a retractable dome Click! Let’s remove home-field advantages for the players. Click! Let’s make sure we only look at games that took place in true cold weather. Drag-and-drop! Within seconds, Cloudera Enterprise and Tableau were able to present back, visually, a comparison of quarterbacks!


While I was saddened to know (and to admit) that if the Broncos were to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Tom Brady would have been a better quarterback, I was amazed how easily a marketing person like me can do big data analysis without writing a line of code!

How To Get Started with Big Data?

Big data can seem daunting, but not if you are in the good hands of Cloudera and Dell. In the Big Data Lane and the Big Data Pavilion, Dell showcased several options that take customers from proof-of-concept all the way to doing well-tuned advanced analytics.

Want to run a proof-of-concept and try out Hadoop? Dell QuickStart for Cloudera Hadoop gives you five-nodes of Dell servers and Cloudera Enterprise, plus one week of Dell Consulting services to help you get up and running immediately. If you like what you tried and want to expand further? Dell’s Reference Architecture for Cloudera provides the step-by-step guide to the best configuration to go from five to infinity. Need to do some high-powered in-memory analytics workloads now? Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise provides the state-of-the-art hardware for turnkey implementation for the most time-critical workloads. Whatever the need, Cloudera and Dell have an answer for it.


While the rain poured and temperature dipped, none of it lessened Dell World attendees’ passion in seeking good BBQ (Franklin!), good music (Duran Duran and Weezer!), and big data (Cloudera!) Or at the very least, I certainly got my fill of all three! Thank you Dell for putting on a great show.


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