Fast Company names Poshly one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Big Data

February 17, 2015 Comments Off on Fast Company names Poshly one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Big Data

As a Big Data practitioner – and an investor – I’m delighted to learn that Fast Company has recognized Astia Angels’ portfolio company Poshly as a leader in this dynamic and rapidly growing space.

I blogged about Poshly some time ago. One reason that I invested in them was that they’re a great example of employing Big Data to answer real-world questions, rather than just vacuuming up a bunch of information and trying to find a use for it.

Bradley Falk, Poshly’s CTO and co-founder states:

The great thing about beauty and personal care data is discovering how unique everyone is. We can create a portrait of a user in near realtime and discover how the small details can vary so much. We can react to trends, interests and sentiment to create value for both the consumer and the industry while protecting the user’s personal information.

As I’ve watched Poshly’s meteoric growth, I’ve been interested about the approach they would follow to maintain scalability. According to Matthew Drescher, Poshly’s Head of Data Engineering:

We are aggressively utilizing high performance, distributed in-memory computing techniques to vectorize our data, perform in-place analytics, and paint a landscape of insights for our customers to enjoy.    

With the quality of data Poshly gathers, it is possible to take a very geometric approach to generating insights. It’s less like scraping through a haystack in search for a diamond than it is trying to realize the maximum realistic photo resolution.

If you’re interested in all things Big Data, stay tuned for a series of blog posts I’ll be writing on critical algorithms that should be part of your toolkit.

Poshly: a great practical example of Big Data in action

August 31, 2014 Comments Off on Poshly: a great practical example of Big Data in action

With any new innovation, hype can often outstrip results, especially in the early days. A few years back, we saw this with Service Oriented Architecture (SOA): it had lots of promise, but there were relatively few examples of successful implementations. Nowadays, SOAP and REST services – supported by the principles of service orientation – are the primary techniques that distributed applications use to communicate. This has led to all sorts of innovative solutions, especially when pairing these services with mobile devices.

The same things are happening in Big Data: you hear about it all the time, but it’s natural to wonder how it’s being used to add value. Unsurprisingly, new technologies are often viewed as solutions in search of problems, and this is particularly relevant for Big Data since it’s such an all-encompassing discipline.

For Big Data, it’s always useful to look for practical applications: first define the problem, and then use Big Data to supply the solution. Poshly is a textbook example of what I mean: Big Data technologies and practices are being applied to meaningful problems, thereby helping customers answer questions that were very difficult to resolve prior to these advances.

Disclosure: I’m an investor in Poshly through my participation in Astia Angels, an organization I encourage you to check out. Poshly recently closed a $1.5MM investment, which you can read about here at TechCrunch.

Poshly’s website offers a variety of beauty product giveaways which consumers can compete to win by answering personal questions about their beauty routines, habits, interests, and more. The data these questions generate is highly personalized, but only shared with Poshly’s brand customers after being anonymized – meaning users’ personally identifiable information is removed, like their name, email or address. This “hyper-personal data,” as CEO Doreen Bloch calls it, helps brands better understand their customer base in general, or influence larger decisions, like what retail channel to roll out to next, for example.

I’m increasingly learning about dynamic startups like Poshly that are finding realistic uses for Big Data. As time goes by, I suspect that eventually we’ll stop using the term Big Data, and depict it instead as just plain “data” as we portray the exciting ways that information is being put to work.

eSeminar on “Using the Cloud to Support Today’s Growing Analytics Requirements”

October 21, 2013 Comments Off on eSeminar on “Using the Cloud to Support Today’s Growing Analytics Requirements”

I recently conducted an event for IBM & Ziff Davis that talked about the inter-relationships among Big Data, cloud computing, and analytics. From the abstract:

Analytics is being driven deeper into most organizations as more business unit managers and employees need information to make smarter, faster business decisions. At the same time, many companies are relying on the analysis of much larger volumes of data to make such critical decisions. This eSeminar will discuss how a smart cloud infrastructure can help meet today’s growing analytics requirements, while accommodating the larger volumes of data involved in decision-making processes.

You can view the eSeminar here

Big Data security and privacy risk podcast

October 1, 2013 Comments Off on Big Data security and privacy risk podcast

I recently participated in a podcast sponsored by Edward Haletky at The Virtualization Practice.

My co-panelists (Edward, Iben Rodriguez @iben, Mike Foley @mikefoley) and I discussed many aspects of the inherent security and privacy risks that enterprises and the general public alike are encountering with Big Data. You can find a recording of the podcast here.

‘Optimizing your Database Portfolio’ webcast is now available

June 24, 2013 Comments Off on ‘Optimizing your Database Portfolio’ webcast is now available

I recently hosted a webcast for SAP that explored some of the many changes that are taking place in the database arena.

From the abstract:

In the last five years, the world of databases has become more dynamic and exciting than ever before- which has also made things more confusing than ever. How can you ensure you are developing the right information management strategy?

Find the answer by tuning into this in-depth webcast hosted by technology consultant and author, Robert D. Schneider. Topics covered include:

  • Why the relational database management system (RDBMS) is still essential
  • The rise of extreme online transaction processing (XOLTP)
  • Bigger data volumes and new information categories
  • And how to proceed

You can find the Webcast here

Exploring the Database Forest article is now available

May 2, 2013 Comments Off on Exploring the Database Forest article is now available

SAP asked me to write an article that summarized some of today’s most interesting database trends. Here’s what I cover in the article:

I begin by demonstrating that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ database platform isn’t a good idea given today’s complexities. Next, I describe several of the most intriguing new information management technology categories, followed by an overview of how integrated solutions such as SAP’s Real Time Data Platform can provide a logical, unified approach. Finally, I point out that despite all of the fresh breakthroughs and noteworthy new solutions, transactional databases continue to remain at the heart of the enterprise’s information processing responsibilities. This means that selecting an RDBMS will endure as a vital obligation.

This article also served as the foundation for the recent Webinar that I presented as well.  You can view the article here: Exploring the database forest

Amazon Redshift – interesting new Big Data Warehouse As A Service offering

March 31, 2013 Comments Off on Amazon Redshift – interesting new Big Data Warehouse As A Service offering

A while back, I co-authored a White paper about the various storage options offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). In that paper, I described each of the key AWS data management products (e.g. Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Block Storage (EBS), SimpleDB, and so on). I also provided some use cases showing how all of these services can work together.

Amazon continually upgrades and improves its offerings, and they’ve recently announced beta availability for Redshift – a cloud-based service that lets you use the AWS infrastructure to run analytics and business intelligence applications on terabytes – or even petabytes – of information that you upload to Amazon.

In future posts, I’ll be writing more about how these types of hosted solutions have the potential to level the playing field and transform the way Big Data analytics are handled by organizations of all sizes. For now, I encourage you to consider cloud-based products for even the largest business intelligence applications.

Teaching a workshop entitled “Foundations of Big Data from A to Z”

February 16, 2013 Comments Off on Teaching a workshop entitled “Foundations of Big Data from A to Z”

Recently, I blogged about a talk I’m giving in Boston at the Conference on Big Data Security. I’m happy to announce that I’ll also be teaching a comprehensive one-day workshop on Big Data. Here’s what I’ll be covering on Tuesday, July 16:

  • A realistic, vendor-agnostic overview of the current Big Data security landscape
  • Big Data information management categories including: in-memory databases, key/value stores, graph databases, and file/object repositories
  • Examination and explanation of the most widespread technologies such as Amazon Web Services, Big Table, and Hadoop
  • Understanding how all of these disparate solutions co-exist without security chaos
  • Pinpointing the intrinsic non-technical security risks present in a big data environment: regulatory, legal, industry, and Service Level Agreements
  • Creating a “defense-in-depth” approach to protecting Big Data for your shop
  • Real-world scenarios on what works and why

If you’re interested, you can register here.

Speaking about enhanced security capabilities for Hadoop

February 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’m looking forward to my speaking engagement at the Conference on Big Data Security this July in Boston. I’ll be talking about how to keep your Hadoop environment safe and secure. In particular, I’ll be discussing:

  • The key diverse technologies contained within a typical Hadoop environment
  • Current and trending security risks characteristic in Hadoop implementations
  • Setting and attaining realistic goals
  • Contrasting open-source vs. proprietary Hadoop security tools
  • Protecting your Hadoop landscape through controlled access
  • Inherent differences safeguarding data-at-rest vs. defending data while in motion

I hope you can join me there – it should be a very interesting conference.

Upcoming Webinar with SAP on January 16: Exploring the Database Forest

January 9, 2013 Comments Off on Upcoming Webinar with SAP on January 16: Exploring the Database Forest

Along with Neil McGovern from SAP, I’ll be presenting a Webinar hosted by Ziff Davis on January 16 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET. Here’s what we’ll be covering:

Today’s database technology landscape is more dymanic than ever before. With growing data volume, data types and data uses, many organizations are using an array of specialized information management technologies to manage their data, as opposed to relying on a single relational database management (RDBMS) platform.

Join Robert Schneider, technology consultant and author and Neil McGovern, senior director, Solutions Marketing, SAP, for an in-depth discussion on how to optimize data management technologies in your organization.  During this one-hour Webcast, you’ll learn:

  • How the latest trends in information management are affecting IT organizations
  • Why a ‘one size fits all’ database no longer makes sense
  • How integrated solutions such as the SAP Real Time Data Platform can provide a logical, unified approach to data management

You can register for this free event here.

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