A Reflection On The Data Ecosystem For The Year 2021


January 1st, 2022

1 hr 3 mins 29 secs

Your Host

About this Episode


This has been an active year for the data ecosystem, with a number of new product categories and substantial growth in existing areas. In an attempt to capture the zeitgeist Maura Church, David Wallace, Benn Stancil, and Gleb Mezhanskiy join the show to reflect on the past year and share their thought son the year to come.


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  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Maura Church, David Wallace, Benn Stancil, and Gleb Mezhanskiy about the key themes of 2021 in the data ecosystem and what to expect for next year


  • Introduction

  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?

  • What were the main themes that you saw data practitioners and vendors focused on this year?

  • What is the major bottleneck for Data teams in 2021? Will it be the same in 2022? One of the ways to reason about progress in any domain is to look at what was the primary bottleneck of further progress (data adoption for decision making) at different points in time. In the data domain, we have seen a number of bottlenecks, for example, scaling data platforms, the answer to which was Hadoop and on-prem columnar stores and then cloud data warehouses such as Snowflake & BigQuery. Then the problem was data integration and transformation which was solved by data integration vendors and frameworks such as Fivetran / Airbyte, modern orchestration frameworks such as Dagster & dbt and “reverse-ETL” Hightouch. What is the main challenge now?

  • Will SQL be challenged as a primary interface to analytical data? In 2020 we’ve seen a few launches of post-SQL languages such as Malloy, Preql, metric layer query languages from Transform and Supergrain.

  • To what extent does speed matter? Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen the resurgence of “benchmark wars” between major data warehousing platforms. To what extent do speed benchmarks inform decisions for modern data teams? How important is query speed in a modern data workflow? What needs to be true about your current DWH solution and potential alternatives to make a move?

  • How has the way data teams work been changing? In 2020 remote seemed like a temporary emergency state. In 2021, it went mainstream. How has that affected the day-to-day of data teams, how they collaborate internally and with stakeholders?

  • What’s it like to be a data vendor in 2021?

  • Vertically integrated vs. modular data stack? There are multiple forces in play. Will the stack continue to be fragmented? Will we see major consolidation? If so, in which parts of the stack?

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 show, Podcast.__init__ to learn about the Python language, its community, and the innovative ways it is being used.
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The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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