Microservices Expo Authors: Flint Brenton, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan

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
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
Application transformation and DevOps practices are two sides of the same coin. Enterprises that want to capture value faster, need to deliver value faster – time value of money principle. To do that enterprises need to build cloud-native apps as microservices by empowering teams to build, ship, and run in production. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Neil Gehani, senior product manager at HPE, will discuss what every business should plan for how to structure their teams to d...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
When we talk about the impact of BYOD and BYOA and the Internet of Things, we often focus on the impact on data center architectures. That's because there will be an increasing need for authentication, for access control, for security, for application delivery as the number of potential endpoints (clients, devices, things) increases. That means scale in the data center. What we gloss over, what we skip, is that before any of these "things" ever makes a request to access an application it had to...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
As we enter the final week before the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in Santa Clara, CA, it's time for me to reflect on six big topics that will be important during the show. Hybrid Cloud This general-purpose term seems to provide a comfort zone for many enterprise IT managers. It sounds reassuring to be able to work with one of the major public-cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure while still maintaining an on-site presence.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
operations aren’t merging to become one discipline. Nor is operations simply going away. Rather, DevOps is leading software development and operations – together with other practices such as security – to collaborate and coexist with less overhead and conflict than in the past. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will discuss what modern operational practices look like in a world in which applications are more loosely coupled, are deve...
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully ma...
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and microservices. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your conta...
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?