Business intelligence is a necessity for any organization that wants to be able to make informed decisions based on the data that they collect. Unfortunately, it is common for different portions of the business to build their reports with different assumptions, leading to conflicting views and poor choices. Looker is a modern tool for building and sharing reports that makes it easy to get everyone on the same page. In this episode Daniel Mintz explains how the product is architected, the features that make it easy for any business user to access and explore their reports, and how you can use it for your organization today.
Jupyter notebooks have gained popularity among data scientists as an easy way to do exploratory analysis and build interactive reports. However, this can cause difficulties when trying to move the work of the data scientist into a more standard production environment, due to the translation efforts that are necessary. At Netflix they had the crazy idea that perhaps that last step isn’t necessary, and the production workflows can just run the notebooks directly. Matthew Seal is one of the primary engineers who has been tasked with building the tools and practices that allow the various data oriented roles to unify their work around notebooks. In this episode he explains the rationale for the effort, the challenges that it has posed, the development that has been done to make it work, and the benefits that it provides to the Netflix data platform teams.
As data science becomes more widespread and has a bigger impact on the lives of people, it is important that those projects and products are built with a conscious consideration of ethics. Keeping ethical principles in mind throughout the lifecycle of a data project helps to reduce the overall effort of preventing negative outcomes from the use of the final product. Emily Miller and Peter Bull of Driven Data have created Deon to improve the communication and conversation around ethics among and between data teams. It is a Python project that generates a checklist of common concerns for data oriented projects at the various stages of the lifecycle where they should be considered. In this episode they discuss their motivation for creating the project, the challenges and benefits of maintaining such a checklist, and how you can start using it today.
With the growth of the Hadoop ecosystem came a proliferation of implementations for the Hive table format. Unfortunately, with no formal specification, each project works slightly different which increases the difficulty of integration across systems. The Hive format is also built with the assumptions of a local filesystem which results in painful edge cases when leveraging cloud object storage for a data lake. In this episode Ryan Blue explains how his work on the Iceberg table format specification and reference implementation has allowed Netflix to improve the performance and simplify operations for their S3 data lake. This is a highly detailed and technical exploration of how a well-engineered metadata layer can improve the speed, accuracy, and utility of large scale, multi-tenant, cloud-native data platforms.
One of the most complex aspects of managing data for analytical workloads is moving it from a transactional database into the data warehouse. What if you didn’t have to do that at all? MemSQL is a distributed database built to support concurrent use by transactional, application oriented, and analytical, high volume, workloads on the same hardware. In this episode the CEO of MemSQL describes how the company and database got started, how it is architected for scale and speed, and how it is being used in production. This was a deep dive on how to build a successful company around a powerful platform, and how that platform simplifies operations for enterprise grade data management.
There are countless sources of data that are publicly available for use. Unfortunately, combining those sources and making them useful in aggregate is a time consuming and challenging process. The team at Enigma builds a knowledge graph for use in your own data projects. In this episode Chris Groskopf explains the platform they have built to consume large varieties and volumes of public data for constructing a graph for serving to their customers. He discusses the challenges they are facing to scale the platform and engineering processes, as well as the workflow that they have established to enable testing of their ETL jobs. This is a great episode to listen to for ideas on how to organize a data engineering organization.
As your data needs scale across an organization the need for a carefully considered approach to collection, storage, organization, and access becomes increasingly critical. In this episode Todd Walter shares his considerable experience in data curation to clarify the many aspects that are necessary for a successful platform for your business. Using the metaphor of a museum curator carefully managing the precious resources on display and in the vaults, he discusses the various layers of an enterprise data strategy. This includes modeling the lifecycle of your information as a pipeline from the raw, messy, loosely structured records in your data lake, through a series of transformations and ultimately to your data warehouse. He also explains which layers are useful for the different members of the business, and which pitfalls to look out for along the path to a mature and flexible data platform.
Every business with a website needs some way to keep track of how much traffic they are getting, where it is coming from, and which actions are being taken. The default in most cases is Google Analytics, but this can be limiting when you wish to perform detailed analysis of the captured data. To address this problem, Alex Dean co-founded Snowplow Analytics to build an open source platform that gives you total control of your website traffic data. In this episode he explains how the project and company got started, how the platform is architected, and how you can start using it today to get a clearer view of how your customers are interacting with your web and mobile applications.
Elasticsearch is a powerful tool for storing and analyzing data, but when using it for logs and other time oriented information it can become problematic to keep all of your history. Chaos Search was started to make it easy for you to keep all of your data and make it usable in S3, so that you can have the best of both worlds. In this episode the CTO, Thomas Hazel, and VP of Product, Pete Cheslock, describe how they have built a platform to let you keep all of your history, save money, and reduce your operational overhead. They also explain some of the types of data that you can use with Chaos Search, how to load it into S3, and when you might want to choose it over Amazon Athena for our serverless data analysis.
With the proliferation of data sources to give a more comprehensive view of the information critical to your business it is even more important to have a canonical view of the entities that you care about. Is customer number 342 in your ERP the same as Bob Smith on Twitter? Building a master data set helps you answer these questions reliably and simplify the process of building your business intelligence reports. In this episode the head of product at Tamr, Mark Marinelli, discusses the challenges of building a master data set, why you should have one, and some of the techniques that modern platforms and systems provide for maintaining it.