Jan 31, 2011

Data Day Austin 2011

We had about 220 people come out for Data Day Austin 2011. The Norris Convention Center was packed out and there were 2 and sometimes 3 tracks going simultaneously. GeekAustin put on the event and I was mightily impressed with Lynn Bender's organizational and promotional skills. Any company looking to connect with a technical audience should give Lynn a call.

I didn't get to see all the sessions that I would have liked to due to the fact that I was presenting twice and had live demos in both of them (and my Apache Nutch demo started bonking an hour before I went on). Jonathan Ellis (@spyced) put on one of the most consumable Apache Cassandra overviews I've ever seen. If you want to get to grips with the logic behind Cassandra, its worth waiting to get your hands on the session video when it becomes available. After I made it through my Hadoop session, I got to see the WuKong and Pig Sessions from InfoChimps. Flip Kromer (@mrflip) and Jacob Perkins (@thedatachef) spent a ton of time putting together detailed cloud accessible tutorials, complete with data for the attendees to go through. These were probably the most interactive sessions of the day.

Next up was my session on Apache Nutch and then following that was Gino Bustelo's (@ginobustelo) presentation on IBM BigSheets. BigSheets levels the playing field for Data Science by putting the entire analytics ecosystem within a single tool. It allows one to gather, explore/analyze and export data in a spreadsheet environment. It doesn't get as much press as it should. I encourage you to check it out. (Disclaimer: I worked on BigSheets).

All in all, I felt the sessions covered the Big Data Space pretty well, as there were sessions related to:
- Offline Processing (Apache Hadoop, Pig, WuKong, Nutch and BigSheets )
- Online Processing (Several sessions on Apache Cassandra)
- Emerging Technologies: Zach Richardson presenting on Golden Orb (Open Source implementation of Google's Pregel), Jeremy Hanna presenting on Hadoop integration with Cassandra and Pervasive presenting on DataRush.

Big Data in Austin is in a very healthy place, with lots of companies both innovating and hiring. My takeaway is that I felt we both grew and educated the local community. I'm hoping to see the Austin Big Data User Group grow to around 75 to 100 folks per monthly meeting this year. Especially after our local Big Data Panel coming up at SXSW Interactive in March.

GeekAustin has put the videos of the sessions online, but I've also attached my slides below.

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