On the Road at Cloudera Sessions

ClouderaRoadShowAs an employee for an Authorized Cloudera Training Partner, I was pretty excited to hear about the Cloudera Sessions. Held in 10 cities, it’s a chance to get a taste of Cloudera for a nominal fee. After a long drive down from the Triangle area, I finally made it to the show at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC. After a quick check-in at the registration desk, I headed to the general session room. HP was on-stage discussing the need to compress the time to implement Hadoop with pre-configured hardware and servers. The general session room was packed, a testament to the burgeoning interest in Apache Hadoop and Cloudera’s role in its growth.  

As the day moved along we had presentations from a variety of Cloudera’s product team, including Ted Malaska, Solutions Architect; Dave Hackett, Systems Engineer; and Drew O’Brien, Product Marketing Manager. At the end of each session was an informal Q&A with the technical audience and there were lots of challenging questions tossed out. But what was most interesting to me was all the little bits of information I gleaned just by being there. The goal of not moving data because Hadoop is so efficient and often times your network bandwidth is a bottleneck. The concern over designing a Hadoop installation for multi-tenancy, and of course the associated IAM and security needs around that scenario.  And if you want to get an insight on the future of Cloudera, watch the technology white papers coming from Google.

Next door to the general session room was the lunch-break room with vendors, such as HP, SyncSoft, and Pentaho. Overall there was a nice flow of people in and out of the sessions and into the vendor area for informal discussions. A USB key with important Cloudera documents and product sheets made for a nice, lightweight keepsake from the Road Show. The audience was a good mix of Cloudera customers along with potential customers who were dabbing their toes into the Hadoop wading pool.
The last two hours of the Charlotte road show broke into three sessions and I attended the mid-level session, “Fostering Hadoop Excellence and Choosing your Springboard.” This smaller session was led by Ted Malaska and he’s a full-on techie. While he’s an entertaining speaker, his insight into Hadoop beyond the covered topic (Hadoop Centers of Excellence) was great. There were many glimpses of what happens inside the Hadoop community with the technical projects and strategies for all the players in the Hadoop ecosystem. Deeper technical questions were fielded by Ted, allowing for a more intimate Q&A with real value for attendees.

Overall I found the Cloudera Sessions Road Show to be very well-organized, well-attended, and extremely valuable. If you’re considering Apache Hadoop, I really think it can give you a feel for what working with Cloudera is like, the extent of their Hadoop project commitment, and why their support is so important. High-quality support and knowledge are key to any open source deployment and all those bits and bytes don’t work that well unless you have the expertise to leverage the technology underneath. Apache Hadoop is powerful but not an easy technology to deploy, so it’s important to utilize the experts at Cloudera and their management tools.

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