Strata Data San Jose March 2018 Musings

by Sanjeev Mohan  |  March 18, 2018  |  Submit a Comment

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new buzz word for 2018: Operationalization!

I attended this year’s edition of Strata Data show last week in San Jose. Last year when I attended the show, it was still called Strata Hadoop. Interestingly, if last year many companies were trying to distance themselves from Hadoop, this year I witnessed outright hostility towards it. It seems everyone is wary to be pigeon-holed into the Hadoop world. Most companies now want to be known as Data Science companies. Not surprisingly, this pivot has added to the confusion amongst our clients. Many software vendors had record breaking quarters last year, selling products that had something to do with Hadoop, yet they felt compelled to downplay it.

I believe the skepticism towards Hadoop is overblown. Hadoop is much more than just a technology. It is not only an open source community but also garners strong investor interest to fill in the technological gaps. This is especially true for companies who are still on-premises. For those in the cloud, the move to object stores is definitely the right thing to do but even they are using some components of the Hadoop ecosystem along with Spark. For example, Hive turns out to be very popular. Additionally, I noticed how little was spoken about Hadoop 3.x. I expected some enthusiasm about upcoming product releases, but I only got guarded responses.

Another challenge for many software vendors is how to define what category they are in. BI vendors are moving deeper into the stack while data management companies are moving towards BI and data science. The world of Big Data is getting more complicated as vendors add pieces to complete the puzzle in order to rise above the noise. The competition is intensifying across the entire stack of Big Data. I know it is important to be able to define one’s category but my advice is to spend more time articulating the problem you are trying to solve rather than recycling buzzwords. One area everyone agreed on: they are operationalizing…>.

I had connected with many of my customers last year at the conference and they were generally the technical folks. So, I was amused to see that some of these clients had chosen to send their business analytics staff to the conference this year. Reality is setting in and organizations care more about results than the latest animal in the Hadoop zoo. Now, much more focus is being put into delivering an integrated solution with higher data governance and automation.

The first question most people asked me was, why I am not at Garter’s D&A Summit in Grapevine. Alas, the two conferences clashed this year leaving me the sole Gartner analyst at Strata Data. Our clients and vendors had to split themselves between the two events. Some intrepid souls managed to spend time in both the events. You could identify them by how haggard they looked! I was shocked to find out that one person had even managed to fit the HIMS conference in Las Vegas between his stints at Grapevine and San Jose. If there is one thing you can say about us folks in Big Data: we are dedicated!


Sanjeev Mohan
Research Director
1 years at Gartner
31 years IT Industry

Sanjeev Mohan researches data management strategies within the Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) group. Mr. Mohan covers big data frameworks and related technologies, and provides insights on cloud, SaaS, data storage including Hadoop, NoSQL, data integration, data governance and data transformation strategies. Read Full Bio