Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: John Rauser, Liz McMillan, Madhavan Krishnan, VP, Cloud Solutions, Virtusa, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski

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 we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Digital transformation has changed the way users interact with the world, and the traditional healthcare experience no longer meets rising consumer expectations. Enterprise Health Clouds (EHCs) are designed to easily and securely deliver the smart and engaging digital health experience that patients expect today, while ensuring the compliance and data integration that care providers require. Jikku Venkat