Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Harry Trott, Mamoon Yunus

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, Release Management

@CloudExpo: Article

Why Your Analytics Should Be Hosted

It’s become increasingly clear that Big Data is transforming the business landscape

It's become increasingly clear that Big Data, and the tools for manipulating, visualizing and analyzing it, are transforming the business landscape. McKinsey released a report in 2011 that projects 40 percent growth in global data generated per year. This is all well and good, but more and more companies are finding that their toolbox for dealing with all of this data is antiquated and confusing.

Indeed, 58 percent of enterprise decision makers surveyed in March 2012 by DataXu felt they lacked the skills and technology required for marketing analytics. Marketers should be chomping at the bit to fruitfully employ the data they have. Successful marketing requires proper segmentation of the customer base to create more targeted campaigns. Real-time insight into the performance of existing campaigns and a clear grasp of where to redirect efforts can also turn a campaign that would have failed into a success. These are the promises made by the drivers of the current "data movement." The unfortunate reality, however, is that the accumulation of data just adds to the costs of an organization as it struggles to merely store the incoming torrent of data, let alone harness it and allow non-technical individuals to explore and understand it.

Luckily, this isn't the first time that industries have experienced this type of problem. The data movement is just like any other one that starts out as a niche interest to a select few people, eventually growing into a commoditized marketplace that competes on usability and ease of access.

Of all metaphors to pick for this process, the restaurant is an apt one. Cooking is something everyone can do. Mix up some batter, put it on a hot skillet, and you'll get pancakes. Add some eggs and a glass of orange juice and you've either got your brain on drugs or a complete breakfast. You can also go to your local IHOP and order the same thing. If you make it yourself, you know everything that's in it and can control the various aspects of the meal. But you also have to deal with acquiring the ingredients, having the facilities to cook, and doing the cleanup. If you go to a restaurant, all you have to do is show up, tell them what you want, and pay.

Similarly, the analytics space has two types of offerings. You can choose to do it yourself or you can use a hosted service to take care of things for you. As with cooking versus going to a restaurant, there are costs and benefits associated with both, but my biased opinion is that a hosted solution is the best choice for tackling the current influx of data.

Economies of Scale
Restaurants provide the benefits of economies of scale to their patrons, allowing customers to consume and enjoy foods that they normally wouldn't be able to at home. High-quality tuna is rather expensive and generally comes in quantities that no individual person could ever consume before it goes bad. Yet, you can go to a sushi restaurant and get various parts of the fish. This is economies of scale in action. The restaurant can afford to put down a significant sum of money to acquire the whole tuna and resell it in pieces to its patrons.

Hosted analytics presents a similar case. A hosted analytics provider is able to pay more money upfront for hardware than any one of its customers would. The reality of data processing is that there are physical limitations to the amount of data a computer can process given a certain amount of time. This problem can only be overcome with more and better hardware.

Because it serves multiple users, a hosted system is actually incentivized to provision enough machines to answer questions quickly. The compute resources are only required for the duration of a query against the system. The faster a query gets answered, the quicker those resources are freed up to answer someone else's query. Responding to queries fast enough to free up resources for the next query is actually the only way to achieve high levels of concurrency. Because the hosted provider is building their business on the idea that multiple customers will share the same infrastructure, they have to support more than just one query at a time and thus are naturally forced to provide their users with a faster querying experience. Economies of scale work to the users' advantage.

Integration of Diverse Data Streams
Another benefit of hosted analytics systems is that they can provide overnight integration with other data sets, both public and private. Taking this back to the restaurant analogy, restaurants add new items to their menu on a regular basis. If they find a supplier that will give them Alaskan king crab for the same price as a lesser form of crab, patrons will all of a sudden start eating better crab without having even known it was coming. The hosted analytics case is similar in that users can take advantage of new data sets that the provider has integrated.

Consider the following scenario. A marketer might normally have access to customer profile and engagement information through their analytics system. Companies like Amazon Web Services offer up data sets from the human genome, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Wikipedia. If a hosted analytics company integrates a public data set like one of these, they can then expose it to all of their clients. This means that if there are 1,000 customers of the hosted offering and only one of them asks for the integration of the public data set, 999 customers get that same integration overnight. All of the participants reap the benefits of having more data sets available. Through the process of overlaying various data streams, marketers can learn more about their customers and their behavior in order to better target their campaigns. This is just one more benefit hosted offerings provide to ensure that companies can maximally leverage the value of their data.

Useful Analytics
Analytics are only good if they are understandable and actionable, just as restaurants are only good if their food is edible and delicious. There are thousands of ingredients that could be mixed in with fried eggs, but some will taste delicious and some will just result in an inedible concoction. As patrons of many restaurants, we often come to a consensus on what various restaurants do well, personal taste notwithstanding. This knowledge can be employed to eat only the best meals. The same mechanism of collective understanding will play itself out in the hosted analytics space.

Any company that provides hosted analytics to a variety of businesses wants to give its customers only the most useful analytical metrics and functionalities. Marketers may not have the specific training to pinpoint exactly which analysis methods to leverage for maximal effect. That's where the multi-tenant properties of hosted analytics work to your benefit. The hosted analytics provider will be sensitive to which of their tools are providing the most value across their entire customer base. In other words, the individual customers all come together to form a collaborative filter to ensure that the less useful analytics features will be cast aside in favor of those that yield valuable insights. As with the integration of public data sets, this filtering mechanism ensures that benefits cascade throughout the entire system of analytics users. Even for features that do not seem to be immediately relevant to your company's success, as a customer of a hosted provider you can rest assured that once your company turns that corner in its business growth, the hosted provider already knows the kinds of analysis you'll find yourself needing and has the tools available. Newcomers to the platform are thus quickly able to reap the benefits of an analytical toolset that has been vetted by the crowd.

In the past few years, Big Data has exploded in importance. Marketers must learn how to take away useful, actionable insights from the mass of data at their hands in order to create a competitive advantage for their companies. Hosted analytics systems will truly prove themselves to be a staple choice for deciphering the increasing amounts of data that companies have to deal with, just as restaurants are a ubiquitous presence in our current lives.

In closing, we can stretch the restaurant metaphor just a little bit more. In both a restaurant and a home kitchen, there's an able cook who knows how to turn raw ingredients into a delicious meal. Similarly, the future still includes analysts who understand the intricacies of your business. You will, however, achieve much more efficient use of your analyst's time by leveraging the benefits of a hosted analytics provider: improved performance, "free" integration of external data sets, and collaborative vetting of the analytical feature set.

More Stories By Eric Tschetter

Eric Tschetter is the lead architect at Metamarkets, a leader in big data analytics for web-scale companies. Follow Metamarkets on Twitter @Metamarkets and learn more at www.metamarkets.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single-threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dave Martin, Product owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how ...
Did you know that you can develop for mainframes in Java? Or that the testing and deployment can be automated across mobile to mainframe? In his session and demo at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dana Boudreau, a Senior Director at CA Technologies, will discuss how increasingly teams are developing with agile methodologies, using modern development environments, and automating testing and deployments, mobile to mainframe.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
With Cloud Foundry you can easily deploy and use apps utilizing websocket technology, but not everybody realizes that scaling them out is not that trivial. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Roman Swoszowski, CTO and VP, Cloud Foundry Services, at Grape Up, will show you an example of how to deal with this issue. He will demonstrate a cloud-native Spring Boot app running in Cloud Foundry and communicating with clients over websocket protocol that can be easily scaled horizontally and coordinate...
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
There are several reasons why businesses migrate their operations to the cloud. Scalability and price are among the most important factors determining this transition. Unlike legacy systems, cloud based businesses can scale on demand. The database and applications in the cloud are not rendered simply from one server located in your headquarters, but is instead distributed across several servers across the world. Such CDNs also bring about greater control in times of uncertainty. A database hack ...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, discussed how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He also discussed how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
API Security is complex! Vendors like Forum Systems, IBM, CA and Axway have invested almost 2 decades of engineering effort and significant capital in building API Security stacks to lockdown APIs. The API Security stack diagram shown below is a building block for rapidly locking down APIs. The four fundamental pillars of API Security - SSL, Identity, Content Validation and deployment architecture - are discussed in detail below.
IT organizations are moving to the cloud in hopes to approve efficiency, increase agility and save money. Migrating workloads might seem like a simple task, but what many businesses don’t realize is that application migration criteria differs across organizations, making it difficult for architects to arrive at an accurate TCO number. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO of CloudHealth Technologies, will offer a systematic approach to understanding the TCO of a cloud application...
API Security has finally entered our security zeitgeist. OWASP Top 10 2017 - RC1 recognized API Security as a first class citizen by adding it as number 10, or A-10 on its list of web application vulnerabilities. We believe this is just the start. The attack surface area offered by API is orders or magnitude larger than any other attack surface area. Consider the fact the APIs expose cloud services, internal databases, application and even legacy mainframes over the internet. What could go wrong...
Cloud adoption is often driven by a desire to increase efficiency, boost agility and save money. All too often, however, the reality involves unpredictable cost spikes and lack of oversight due to resource limitations. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO and Founder of CloudHealth Technologies, tackled the question: “How do you build a fully optimized cloud?” He will examine: Why TCO is critical to achieving cloud success – and why attendees should be thinking holistically ab...
Web services have taken the development world by storm, especially in recent years as they've become more and more widely adopted. There are naturally many reasons for this, but first, let's understand what exactly a web service is. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines "web of services" as "message-based design frequently found on the Web and in enterprise software". Basically, a web service is a method of sending a message between two devices through a network. In practical terms, this ...
Docker is on a roll. In the last few years, this container management service has become immensely popular in development, especially given the great fit with agile-based projects and continuous delivery. In this article, I want to take a brief look at how you can use Docker to accelerate and streamline the software development lifecycle (SDLC) process.
The goal of Continuous Testing is to shift testing left to find defects earlier and release software faster. This can be achieved by integrating a set of open source functional and performance testing tools in the early stages of your software delivery lifecycle. There is one process that binds all application delivery stages together into one well-orchestrated machine: Continuous Testing. Continuous Testing is the conveyer belt between the Software Factory and production stages. Artifacts are m...
We define Hybrid IT as a management approach in which organizations create a workload-centric and value-driven integrated technology stack that may include legacy infrastructure, web-scale architectures, private cloud implementations along with public cloud platforms ranging from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Software-as-a-Service.
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Kelly Looney, director of DevOps consulting for Skytap, showed how an incremental approach to introducing containers into complex, distributed applications results in modernization with less risk and more reward. He also shared the story of how Skytap used Docker to get out of the business of managing infrastructure, and into the business of delivering innovation and business value. Attendees learned how up-front planning allows for a clean sep...
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...