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September 26, 2017

Strata Data Conference Kicks Off in New York

The big data universe this week descends upon New York City for the Strata Data Conference, a four-day technology extravaganza that seems to get bigger every year.

It’s been a scant six years since O’Reilly Media held its first Strata event in Santa Clara, California with just over 100 speakers and 1,400 attendees. The show got bigger in 2012 when Cloudera, the upstart Hadoop distributor, and O’Reilly banded together to put on the first combined Strata + Hadoop World event.

The events have just gotten bigger over the years, and O’Reilly and Cloudera expanded the show to four annual gatherings, including events in San Jose, Singapore, and London. This week’s event at the Javits Center is expected to attract more than 6,000 attendees, making it the biggest big data event of the year, with more than 340 speakers and hundreds of vendors hawking their big data wares in the expo hall.

Over the years, the event has changed. One of the biggest changes occurred earlier this year, when Cloudera chief architect and Hadoop co-creator Doug Cutting got up on the stage to announce that the name “Hadoop” would be stricken from the show’s name.

While Hadoop doesn’t have the same presence as it once did, it hasn’t stopped the big data ecosystem from continuing its relentless pace of innovation nonetheless. Where the overarching Hadoop idea has suffered from too much complexity, individual open source projects like Apache Spark and Apache Kakfa have grabbed the reins and run with it, while emerging technologies like Apache Airflow and Apache Flink threaten to be the next big things.

Strata Data Conference chairmen Ben Lorica, Alistair Croll, and Doug Cutting at a previous event (courtesy Radney Racela)

Meanwhile, product vendors have continued to innovate with open source and proprietary technologies designed to harness and leverage mass amounts of data, and these new wares will be displayed prominently on the show floor. Cloudera will have a major presence at the show, since it’s one of the main sponsors, but you can also find compelling demos from its competitors MapR and Hortonworks. Industry juggernauts Cisco, IBM, Intel, and Dell EMC, will be there, as well as recognized giants in their own fields, like NVIDIA, Teradata, and SAS. All told, about 140 vendors are registered to exhibit at the show this week, according to O’Reilly.

You can expect to find hot technologies like deep learning, real-time streaming analytics, and in-memory converged data platforms getting traction on the show floor. Whether you’re looking for cloud-based MPP databases, cloud-based machine learning and AI, or cloud-based streaming analytics, there will be vendors selling wares. If your thing is self-service data prep, data science platforms, or BI and visualization tools, you’ll find offerings to your liking. NoSQL databases, NewSQL databases, graph databases, or in-memory databases will all be represented. It’s a veritable melting pot of big data goodness at your beck and call in the shadow of Ellis Island.

The New York Strata show is the biggest of the year, and this year it will feature a compelling list of keynotes, delivered in its signature rapid-fire manner. Among the big data speakers expected to hit the stage tomorrow and Thursday include Jer Thorp of The New York Times, Christine Hung of Spotify, Mike Olson of Cloudera, and Cathy O’Neil, the author of “Weapons of Math Destruction.” Hilary Mason, the founder of Fast Forward Labs (which Cloudera just acquired) is expected to speak, as are Barbara Eckman of Comcast, Kurt Brown of Netflix, and Atul Dalmia of American Express.

There’s little doubt that turning big data into real business results is not an easy endeavor. While the potential upside of big data is huge, the learning curve is steep. To address that learning curve for business, O’Reilly and Cloudera will be holding a parallel educational track dubbed the Strata Business Summit that explores how executives can create winning strategies and build a big data culture.

We can’t cover all the news that comes out of such a mammoth production here at Datanami, but we’ll do our best to cover the biggest happenings, and give you an overall taste of the show. And don’t forget get direct access to our news feed by following us on Twitter, by checking out the Facebook Datanami homepage, and by following us on LinkedIn.