This year’s edition of Strata Hadoop World held in New York was humongous, 16 workshops, over 20 keynotes, over 130 talks and most importantly over 5000 attendees! This massive crowd wouldn’t fit in Hilton hotel where the previous edition was held. That is why organizers had to move the conference to Javits Conference Center - an enormous building in which Big Data believers occupied just one sector. The fact that the European edition of Hadoop Summit experienced exactly the same transition (the third edition is going to be held in a bigger location in Brussels) gives pleasant assurance that Big Data technologies are still a hot topic and that Big Data Community grows at a stable pace.
As usual the majority of keynotes were given by sponsor representants and were not particularly fascinating (from a developer’s point of view). Nevertheless, there were a few talks that deserve to be mentioned, among them:
- “The Hidden Brain” in which Shankar Vedantam explained how biased human brain can be.
- John Rauser keynote: “Statistics Without the Agonizing Pain” about a way in which computers and in particular Big Data processing ease dealing with statistical problems.
- “The Power of Emotions…” by Rana El Kaliouby on emotion recognition and possibilites to embed this technology into tools that we all use on daily basis.
Hadoop World offered over 130 talks divided into 9 essential tracks and one additional sponsored track. The full schedule is available on offical Hadoop World site. Videos will be available for purchase within few months.
- Data discovery tools provide ways for non-technical folks to familiarize themselves with datasets stored in HDFS. Forget about ‘hadoop fs -ls’ and ‘hadoop fs -cat’ commands and schema catalogs! Data discovery tools infer data types for you, allow you to visualize data distribution, help you sanitize datasets and suggest possible datasets correlations. Operations that developers do manually to understand the nature of dataset can be performed in more automated, simplified manner by almost anyone.
- There is a significant trend to emphasise on custom, innovative ways to visualize data. A really good example of such data visualization virtuosity is work of a team from The New York Times that does amazing stuff with D3.js, here is one example.
- As one can predict, an interest in data science increases by leaps and bounds. Tracks about machine learning and statistics (“Data Science”, “Machine Data”) in its multitude of diversity were among the most popular to be followed.
- Apache Pig fades away as Hadoop World is yet another conference that offers no talks about that framework. On the other hand, there are still some companies that base data processing upon Pig (according to Mithun Radhakrishnan about 50% of jobs at Yahoo are written in Pig). It is interesting to see what the future will bring to that project.
What is more, Ben Werther in his strictly commercial keynote “Spark Needs a Business Analyst Workflow” summed up a trend that is clearly visible in community and in Hadoop oriented tracks:
Spark is the next generation layer for driving Hadoop, it is exciting to see that move from fixation on SQL-only to much broader, much more diverse way of driving of Hadoop insights.
Spark indeed gets a lot of attention. In fact talks about Apache Spark were so popular among attendees of HW2014 that Paco Nathan (host of “Hadoop & Beyond” track) announced that in the next Strata conference there is going to be a track dedicated to Spark only. If you haven’t tried Spark yet be sure to check it out as for sure it is going to be one of most favored processing platforms in the next few years.
Another interesting talk was given by Philip Kromer, in his “Application of the Lambda Architecture”. He stated that lambda architecture is not just about three layered data processing. It is about establishing acceptable (for end users) level of accuracy of data insights and serving those insights with respect to that level. Lambda also provide ways to dynamically adjust established accuracy, that flexibility comes in handy when business requirements change.
During the conference no new projects were announced. Nevertheless there ware few talks about projects that are in the early stages of evolution but are definitely worth evaluating:
- Druid - a platform for building applications that provide analitical, real-time, interactive insights
- Tachyon - an additional abstraction over HDFS that caches datasets in memory
- Samza - a real-time event processing system coupled to Apache Kafka
- Kylin - designed for data analysis ANSI-SQL interface
Data visualization and data discovery become subjects of interest for growing number of initiatives. This is especially apparent in Hadoop World New York that is considered to be less technical and more commercial (half of attendees are business folks) than the West Coast edition and Hadoop Summit editions.
Apache Spark hype seems to be in full swing. Cloudera intensively promotes Spark in opposition to Hive based on Tez that is identified with Hortonworks. Future will show whether both of these projects will find a place for themselves in Big Data processing universe.
It is worth noticing that sponsored talks where explicitly marked as such in the grid schedule. This makes talk selection easier for those who are not interested in commercial products talks. Hadoop Summit organizers could follow this improvement as well.