Maintain Your Data Engineers' Sanity By Embracing Automation - Episode 305

Summary

Building and maintaining reliable data assets is the prime directive for data engineers. While it is easy to say, it is endlessly complex to implement, requiring data professionals to be experts in a wide range of disparate topics while designing and implementing complex topologies of information workflows. In order to make this a tractable problem it is essential that engineers embrace automation at every opportunity. In this episode Chris Riccomini shares his experiences building and scaling data operations at WePay and LinkedIn, as well as the lessons he has learned working with other teams as they automated their own systems.

Your data platform needs to be scalable, fault tolerant, and performant, which means that you need the same from your cloud provider. Linode has been powering production systems for over 17 years, and now they’ve launched a fully managed Kubernetes platform. With the combined power of the Kubernetes engine for flexible and scalable deployments, and features like dedicated CPU instances, GPU instances, and object storage you’ve got everything you need to build a bulletproof data pipeline. If you go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today you’ll even get a $100 credit to use on building your own cluster, or object storage, or reliable backups, or… And while you’re there don’t forget to thank them for being a long-time supporter of the Data Engineering Podcast!


Ascend.io logo Ascend.io, the Data Automation Cloud, provides the most advanced automation for data and analytics engineering workloads. Ascend.io unifies the core capabilities of data engineering—data ingestion, transformation, delivery, orchestration, and observability—into a single platform so that data teams deliver 10x faster. With 95% of data teams already at or over capacity, engineering productivity is a top priority for enterprises. Ascend’s Flex-code user interface empowers any member of the data team—from data engineers to data scientists to data analysts—to quickly and easily build and deliver on the data and analytics workloads they need. And with Ascend’s DataAware™ intelligence, data teams no longer spend hours carefully orchestrating brittle data workloads and instead rely on advanced automation to optimize the entire data lifecycle. Ascend.io runs natively on data lakes and warehouses and in AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/ascend to find out more.

 

 


RudderStack LogoRudderStack provides all your customer data pipelines in one platform. You can collect, transform, and route data across your entire stack with its event streaming, ETL, and reverse ETL pipelines.

RudderStack’s warehouse-first approach means it does not store sensitive information, and it allows you to leverage your existing data warehouse/data lake infrastructure to build a single source of truth for every team.
RudderStack also supports real-time use cases. You can Implement RudderStack SDKs once, then automatically send events to your warehouse and 150+ business tools, and you’ll never have to worry about API changes again.
Visit dataengineeringpodcast.com/rudder to sign up for free today, and snag a free T-Shirt just for being a Data Engineering Podcast listener.

Announcements

  • Hello and welcome to the Data Engineering Podcast, the show about modern data management
  • When you’re ready to build your next pipeline, or want to test out the projects you hear about on the show, you’ll need somewhere to deploy it, so check out our friends at Linode. With their new managed database service you can launch a production ready MySQL, Postgres, or MongoDB cluster in minutes, with automated backups, 40 Gbps connections from your application hosts, and high throughput SSDs. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today and get a $100 credit to launch a database, create a Kubernetes cluster, or take advantage of all of their other services. And don’t forget to thank them for their continued support of this show!
  • RudderStack helps you build a customer data platform on your warehouse or data lake. Instead of trapping data in a black box, they enable you to easily collect customer data from the entire stack and build an identity graph on your warehouse, giving you full visibility and control. Their SDKs make event streaming from any app or website easy, and their state-of-the-art reverse ETL pipelines enable you to send enriched data to any cloud tool. Sign up free… or just get the free t-shirt for being a listener of the Data Engineering Podcast at dataengineeringpodcast.com/rudder.
  • Data teams are increasingly under pressure to deliver. According to a recent survey by Ascend.io, 95% in fact reported being at or over capacity. With 72% of data experts reporting demands on their team going up faster than they can hire, it’s no surprise they are increasingly turning to automation. In fact, while only 3.5% report having current investments in automation, 85% of data teams plan on investing in automation in the next 12 months. 85%!!! That’s where our friends at Ascend.io come in. The Ascend Data Automation Cloud provides a unified platform for data ingestion, transformation, orchestration, and observability. Ascend users love its declarative pipelines, powerful SDK, elegant UI, and extensible plug-in architecture, as well as its support for Python, SQL, Scala, and Java. Ascend automates workloads on Snowflake, Databricks, BigQuery, and open source Spark, and can be deployed in AWS, Azure, or GCP. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/ascend and sign up for a free trial. If you’re a data engineering podcast listener, you get credits worth $5,000 when you become a customer.
  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Chris Riccomini about building awareness of data usage into CI/CD pipelines for application development

Interview

  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • What are the pieces of data platforms and processing that have been most difficult to scale in an organizational sense?
  • What are the opportunities for automation to alleviate some of the toil that data and analytics engineers get caught up in?
  • The application delivery ecosystem has been going through ongoing transformation in the form of CI/CD, infrastructure as code, etc. What are the parallels in the data ecosystem that are still nascent?
  • What are the principles that still need to be translated for data practitioners? Which are subject to impedance mismatch and may never make sense to translate?
  • As someone with a software engineering background and extensive experience working in data, what are the missing links to make those teams/objectives work together more seamlessly?
    • How can tooling and automation help in that endeavor?
  • A key factor in the adoption of automation for application delivery is automated tests. What are some of the strategies you find useful for identifying scope and targets for testing/monitoring of data products?
  • As data usage and capabilities grow and evolve in an organization, what are the junction points that are in greatest need of well-defined data contracts?
    • How can automation aid in enforcing and alerting on those contracts in a continuous fashion?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen automation of data operations used?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on automation for data systems?
  • When is automation the wrong choice?
  • What does the future of data engineering look like?

Contact Info

Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Closing Announcements

  • Thank you for listening! Don’t forget to check out our other shows. Podcast.__init__ covers the Python language, its community, and the innovative ways it is being used. The Machine Learning Podcast helps you go from idea to production with machine learning.
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Links

The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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