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Published September 19th 2012

An Interview With Cloudera’s James Kinley

We’re getting excited about the first Big Data Brighton meetup, which is being held on 27th September as part of the Brighton Digital Festival and will feature guest speaker James Kinley from Cloudera.

Big Data Brighton is a new community that has been set up to discuss the technical and commercial impact of new techniques that harness the power of data. Big Data meetups are open to everyone across all interests, specialisms and skill levels.

The meetup starts at 5pm and will be held at the iCrossing office in Brighton. This informal session will serve as an introduction to big data and a chance to find out the key topics of the data revolution. As well as a talk from James Kinley, Solutions Architect at Cloudera, there will be time for discussions and questions. We caught up with James for a quick chat about how big data is changing the game for brands and businesses:

Why did you want to get involved in Big Data Brighton?

Cloudera are inundated with speaking opportunities all around the world, and because we can’t fulfil all of them, we get to pick the best ones. This is Big Data Brighton’s inaugural event, so it’s a great opportunity for me to be involved in the community from the start and to meet with fellow Hadoopers here on the south coast (I live in Southampton).

Brighton has one of the most vibrant technology communities outside of London and it’s great to see communities like Big Data Brighton getting together and sharing ideas and experience. For me, being involved is as much about learning from others as it is about sharing my knowledge and experience of Hadoop and its ecosystem.

How do you think big data will impact decisions made by brands in the future?

Businesses generate a lot of data, and the volume continues to grow exponentially, but before Hadoop they had no real way to leverage it to make meaningful decisions.

Now businesses are embracing Hadoop they have the capability to make decisions not just from samples of data, from a single system, for the past month, they have the ability to store and process all of their data, from all of their systems, for all of time. I think the insight they will gain from being able to do this will impact everything they do. It’s a game changer!

From your experience, what kind of insights are brands beginning to look for from Big Data?

My background is in cyber security and in this domain organisations are looking for patterns and anomalies in their data to identify bad behaviour in their networks. This gets interesting when trying to continually ingest, store and process data from the entire estate (proxies, routers, dhcp servers, dns servers …), and you have to correlate data from all of them to identity the one pattern indicative of a particular type or phase of a cyber attack.

I have seen this type of analysis used elsewhere, from identifying patterns of behaviour on retail websites that lead to purchases, to analysis of credit card use to identify fraudulent activity.

Identifying patterns in big data is just one of many use-cases for Hadoop. From my experience, being able to actually store and process all of your data opens up so many opportunities to gain insight into your business. For many just the ability to play around with this amount of data discovers things that you weren’t even looking for.

How can Cloudera and Hadoop help brands with managing and analysing big data?

Big data and Hadoop are synonymous. If you have big data, you need Hadoop in order to manage and analyse it. The great thing about Hadoop is it designed to scale horizontally across commodity servers, so it can grow as your business (and data) does.

If you have Hadoop the chances are you need to ingest data into it (Flume, Sqoop), you need to analyse it (MapReduce, Hive, Pig), you need realtime access to it (HBase), and you need it to be secure. This is where I think Cloudera’s Distribution of Apache Hadoop (CDH) comes into its own. CDH is a 100% open source Hadoop distribution which includes all of the ecosystem tools mentioned above and more. It is ideal for enterprises seeking a stable and tested Hadoop solution without proprietary vendor lock-in.

On top of this Cloudera’s offerings are huge. There is Cloudera Enterprise, which combines CDH with a powerful management application (Cloudera Manager) and round the clock support. There are the Hadoop experts, which are a global team of Solutions Architects that work with customers to do everything from use-case discovery to proof-of-concepts and development. And then there is the Cloudera University, the leading provider of Hadoop training and certification.

Having big data is one thing, being able to gain insight from it is a whole different ballgame. Cloudera are the experts.

How do you think social media has impacted businesses’ use and need of big data?

Social media has, and will continue to have, a massive impact on the need to gain insight from big data. Businesses are becoming much more savvy to the benefits of social media, from advertising on Facebook to tweeting about new products and services, because the audience is so vast. The data this generates is immense and if businesses can harvest it in the right way they can gain that competitive advantage that is so important.

For more information and to sign up for the meetup, please click here.

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.