HPE's Big Data Conference was given the tag line #SeizeTheData which immediately made me think of the wonderful film "Dead Poets Society." One of my favorite scenes is when the students learn how to measure and analyze poetry. You can refresh your memory of the dialogue by watching this clip or reading here. Of course, the whole point is that using analytics doesn't work in poetry appreciation. Which I thought made #SeizeTheData rather ironic as a hashtag.
Yet as the event rolled on, HPE themselves declared that "drawing a line through a cloud of dots" isn't the point of big data; rather it should augment human intelligence. I noticed that analytics could in fact be applied with human passion and human wisdom almost anywhere for human good. Uber detailed how they are bringing rides to underserved communities, and reducing traffic and pollution in cities, all driven by analytics. Similarly positive work is being done with big data applications in healthcare, communications, and many other industries.
HPE is making this work easier, too. The company announced new capabilities with the Vertica data warehouse version 8, around exabyte scale performance, advanced analytics IN the database, ability to work in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and now also Microsoft Azure clouds, and many links to open source, particularly Apache Hadoop. Machine learning was a clear and present theme, too. IDOL and Haven OnDemand were shown for their strengths, even if the old HAVEn marketing framework was de-emphasized. I did wonder why security, privacy, and governance weren't more front and center as ESG research shows these qualities at the top of evaluators' concerns, but HPE executives assured me that their offerings were designed, tested, and proven to be sound in these areas. Perhaps the most interesting new offering was Haven OnDemand Combinations, facilitating development by making it very easy to draw connections between steps in the flow of data for analytics. APIs for each stage of the analytics process could be readily called from a clean user interface, and they promised to make the integration and engineering headaches go away.
Was there poetry? Perhaps not, but if we plotted HPE's big data and analytics solutions along the axes of perfection and importance, it certainly seemed the company would score well.