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.
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.
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.
The way that you store your data can have a huge impact on the ways that it can be practically used. For a substantial number of use cases, the optimal format for storing and querying that information is as a graph, however databases architected around that use case have historically been difficult to use at scale or for serving fast, distributed queries. In this episode Manish Jain explains how DGraph is overcoming those limitations, how the project got started, and how you can start using it today. He also discusses the various cases where a graph storage layer is beneficial, and when you would be better off using something else. In addition he talks about the challenges of building a distributed, consistent database and the tradeoffs that were made to make DGraph a reality.
One of the longest running and most popular open source database projects is PostgreSQL. Because of its extensibility and a community focus on stability it has stayed relevant as the ecosystem of development environments and data requirements have changed and evolved over its lifetime. It is difficult to capture any single facet of this database in a single conversation, let alone the entire surface area, but in this episode Jonathan Katz does an admirable job of it. He explains how Postgres started and how it has grown over the years, highlights the fundamental features that make it such a popular choice for application developers, and the ongoing efforts to add the complex features needed by the demanding workloads of today’s data layer. To cap it off he reviews some of the exciting features that the community is working on building into future releases.
With the attention being paid to the systems that power large volumes of high velocity data it is easy to forget about the value of data collection at human scales. Ona is a company that is building technologies to support mobile data collection, analysis of the aggregated information, and user-friendly presentations. In this episode CTO Peter Lubell-Doughtie describes the architecture of the platform, the types of environments and use cases where it is being employed, and the value of small data.
When working with large volumes of data that you need to access in parallel across multiple instances you need a distributed filesystem that will scale with your workload. Even better is when that same system provides multiple paradigms for interacting with the underlying storage. Ceph is a highly available, highly scalable, and performant system that has support for object storage, block storage, and native filesystem access. In this episode Sage Weil, the creator and lead maintainer of the project, discusses how it got started, how it works, and how you can start using it on your infrastructure today. He also explains where it fits in the current landscape of distributed storage and the plans for future improvements.
Data integration and routing is a constantly evolving problem and one that is fraught with edge cases and complicated requirements. The Apache NiFi project models this problem as a collection of data flows that are created through a self-service graphical interface. This framework provides a flexible platform for building a wide variety of integrations that can be managed and scaled easily to fit your particular needs. In this episode project members Kevin Doran and Andy LoPresto discuss the ways that NiFi can be used, how to start using it in your environment, and plans for future development. They also explained how it fits in the broad landscape of data tools, the interesting and challenging aspects of the project, and how to build new extensions.
Collaboration, distribution, and installation of software projects is largely a solved problem, but the same cannot be said of data. Every data team has a bespoke means of sharing data sets, versioning them, tracking related metadata and changes, and publishing them for use in the software systems that rely on them. The CEO and founder of Quilt Data, Kevin Moore, was sufficiently frustrated by this problem to create a platform that attempts to be the means by which data can be as collaborative and easy to work with as GitHub and your favorite programming language. In this episode he explains how the project came to be, how it works, and the many ways that you can start using it today.
With the increased ease of gaining access to servers in data centers across the world has come the need for supporting globally distributed data storage. With the first wave of cloud era databases the ability to replicate information geographically came at the expense of transactions and familiar query languages. To address these shortcomings the engineers at Cockroach Labs have built a globally distributed SQL database with full ACID semantics in Cockroach DB. In this episode Peter Mattis, the co-founder and VP of Engineering at Cockroach Labs, describes the architecture that underlies the database, the challenges they have faced along the way, and the ways that you can use it in your own environments today.