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People to Watch 2016

Daniel Sturman
Vice President of Engineering

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As the Vice President of Engineering at Cloudera, Daniel Sturman’s job is to lead all development within the company, with the Apache Software Foundation community, and with Cloudera’s global partners. Prior to joining Cloudera in 2015, Sturman was at Google for eight years; first as Engineering Director from 2007 to 2014, and then as the Vice President of Engineering from 2014 to 2015, where he led the development of products like Kubernetes and the Google Container Engine. Daniel’s work at Google puts him at the forefront of the containerization movement and hyperscale deployments of big data. Daniel received his B.S. in Computer Science from Cornell and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Datanami: Hi Daniel. Congratulations on being selected as a Datanami 2016 Person to Watch. How is your work on Kubernetes at Google translating to what you’re doing at Cloudera?

Daniel Sturman: Kubernetes was the first OSS project I’d been involved with from the start and it really showed me how quickly the community can take a good idea, shape it, and generate excitement. At Cloudera we’re experiencing that engagement daily through the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. Our Hadoop distribution includes 20+ Apache projects with new projects being created regularly. Since I started at Cloudera we’ve announced Apahce Kudu (incubating) and RecordService, and have donated Impala to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF.) The excitement around these projects is palpable because of the real, hard problems that they solve. I’m looking forward to more adrenalin rushes in the future.

Datanami: How do you see the industry trend around containerization impacting Hadoop customers?

Apache Hadoop has been running on containers for a while – using them for resource isolation in a cluster. In fact, this is something you can do pretty easily with Cloudera Manager  today. With the advent of technology like Docker and Kubernetes, I see quite a bit of opportunity to further simplify deployments, especially for more ad-hoc type analytics.

Datanami: Generally speaking, on the subject of big data, what do you see as the most important trends for 2016 that will have an impact now and into the future?

The applicability of big data to cyber security is going to have a big impact this year.  Every company is worried about intrusions, and most have realized the “hard perimeter” approach isn’t enough – so you need to be able to detect anomalies. That’s where big data comes in.

Cloud is also a key trend to watch. The ability to combine the rapid resource acquisition of cloud with the ability to exploit that scale with big data technologies means you can really go nuts on “insight” – limited only by how much a particular insight is worth to you.  That’s very powerful.

Datanami: Outside of the professional sphere, what can you tell us about yourself – personal life, family, background, hobbies, etc.?

I’m happiest spending time with my family – my wife Lily and my two amazing daughters, Helen and Emily.  I’m not someone with a ton of the high profile, “extreme” hobbies that are so popular in the valley.  So for hobbies my wife and I like to garden (half our yard is edibles – fruit, veggies, etc), and I play a little guitar. I’m even in a cover band with a few friends. We’re by no means awesome but we have a ton of fun.

Datanami: Final question: Who is your idol in the big data industry and why?

I don’t think I can name just one. Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat kicked all this off with the map reduce, GFS, etc.  I’ve seen what those guys are capable of up close and it’s truly impressive.  I also really respect what Amr, Mike, Jeff (Hammerbacher), and Doug have done here at Cloudera making all this stuff real and consumable by the world.


P. Taylor Goetz
Apache Software
Jeff Hammerbacher
Jay Kreps
Todd Lipcon Image Jacques Nadeau Image Peter Norvig Image
Todd Lipcon
Jacques Nadeau
Peter Norvig
Alex Pentland Image Jennifer Priestley Image Nate Silver Image
Alex Pentland
Jennifer Priestley
Kennesaw State University
Nate Silver
Daniel Sturman Image Werner Vogels Image Matei Zaharia
Daniel Sturman
Werner Vogels
Matei Zaharia


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