On the 20th of February, Manchester played host to Talend's Big Data roadshow. It promised to introduce people to the basics of big data and showcase Talend's new versions of their open source software.
The attendees were from varying industries throughout the North West of England. I was quite surprised to see some familiar faces from previous projects. It's a small world!
Ben Bryant was our technical presenter who ably took us through the usual introductions, and explained Talend's history as a leading supplier of open-source Data Integration, Data Quality and Master Data Management software. I was quite familiar with their products, but had not seen their big data solutions in action.
Once the basics were out of the way, Ben went on to explain the fundamentals of big data and how Talend's tools integrated into the current big data infrastructure. We were treated to a demonstration of an active set of slave and master servers, with Talend extracting, loading and analysing the data. An example of profiling using was also shown. We were introduced to a Hadoop infrastructure, Pig Latin and Hive. All in plain English, refreshingly free of jargon and acronym abuse
My impression from the presentation is that Talend have a clear vision of the future, and that Big Data has a part to play in it. Their goal appears to be to make their tools as simple to use with this new way of structuring and processing data. Education of customers has to be key, for it is the users who will find new and exciting ways to innovate using their technology. These innovations will find their way into future releases of Talend through their community of developers.
What I saw, did not inspire me with an immediate need to build a big data solution. For this is still an emerging technology. However, it did say to me, "Hey, Rich. Big data is simpler than you think... Next time someone talks to you about unstructured data like emails, social media, images etc... Why not have a go?"