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BDC 2014 – Day 3

Yesterday was the culmination of the HP Vertica BDC 2014. In the morning we had an excellent open question session hosted by the members of Sillicon Angle’s The Cube followed by the usual engaging break out sessions.

The Developers Lounge was especially packed today with people eager to discuss their Big Data thoughts and questions with our team. There really is something great about being able to sit down with lunch and a beer and talk face to face with customers and developers alike from all across the globe. That of course is what this whole conference is about! Bringing people together in real time, with real talk, and real answers.


Tom Davenport took the stage that afternoon to a welcome round of applause. With years of experience in the big data industry, Tom Davenport has been named a “Big Data Visionary” and is the author of the book “Big Data @ Work. He shared with us a brief (and at some points hilarious) history of Big Data, discussing how it evolved from analysts in shady back rooms, to spreadsheets, to modern day near real-time analytics. Tom explained that the culmination of ALL the data is what makes organizations, old and new, successful. Companies are now producing products and services based on data that is linked directly to customers and not just speculation and comparability primitive research. As a side note, Tom also recommends “People you may know” in Linkedin as a really good way for making long conference calls more interesting. As a whole, it was a diverse and thoroughly entertaining hour of insight and knowledge for us all, and for that we thank you Mr. Davenport.


Finally, It wouldn’t be an HP Vertica conference without an epic send off party would it? Despite the rain and a slight change of location, we invited everyone across the street to attend our very own carnival, filled with men on stilts, magic tricks, games, and of course food and drink.

photo 4 (3)

Today we wrap up our time here at the BDC 2014. I want to say personally how incredibly awesome this conference has been. I hope everyone comes away from this having made new connections, learned new things, and most importantly, made new friends.

BDC 2014 – Day 2


Well, day 2 of the HP Vertica Big Data Conference is over and we’re on to day 3! Yesterday was absolutely incredible, with two fantastic keynotes and a fervor of HP Vertica conversation happening down the hall in the developer zone. To Kick the day off, our developer zone opened bright and early with breakfast at 7AM ready to showcase the new and exciting features of the HP Vertica analytics platform.

Next up, we had our first Keynote with an opening video speech from our CEO Meg Whitman, followed by a great talk from our GM Colin Mahony. Next, an epic return of Tariq, the human analytical genius, rubix cube master, and now turned baloon – magician. I would have thought it would be hard for him to top last years feat of solving a rubix cube in under 15 seconds, but solving one this year in under 30 seconds ONE HANDED is well… one way to do it.


After that, Jorge Ahumanda, Executive Director of the TEAM Network from Conversational International took the stage with an exciting intro video about their incredible efforts to protect and save the rain forests (featuring celebrity and board member Harrison Ford). The fact that over 25% of people on the planet depend on the rain forest directly every day to live (and the fact that we loose a football field sized portion of it every second) really drives home the importance of providing the CI TEAM with the analytical capabilities they need to keep fighting to save these ecosystems.


Finally, to wrap up the day, we had none other than Jim Cochrane, CIO & Executive Vice President of the USPS, take to the stage to discuss the analytical challenges one faces when every person in the US is your customer. As it turns out, with that broad of a customer base you run into many tasks, such as monitoring 217,000 vehicles every day, and fending off over 14 billion attacks on your website per month (talk about security needs). To deal with these challenges and to capitalize on your data you need a platform like HP Vertica to provide the security and analytics you need. As Jim Cochrane concluded: “Be curious, ask questions and assume nothing.” We couldn’t agree more.


I have to say experiencing the diversity and knowledge of the customers, partners, and prospects I’ve met so far at this BDC has been really something special, and it can only get better as we roll into day 3. Looking forward to seeing you all out there!

Welcome to the HP Vertica 2014 BDC!


Well all, it’s finally here. we’ve come a long way in the past months planning and preparing for this week, and we’re already off to a great start! Yesterday we kicked off the BDC with the Hackathon with datasets provided by Conservation international. Below are the names of the winning teams:


Team 6

  • Tomáš Jirotka
  • Pavel Burdanov
  • Nikolay Golov


Team 8

  • Phil Ivers
  • Talal Assir
  • Zach Taylor
  • Pedro Pedreira


Team 4

  • Norbert Krupa
  • Karel Jakubec
  • Durga Nemani
  • Jun Yin

Next up we had a session of ASE testing and were delighted to find that all 9 of our participants passed the first round! In addition, our Best Practices forum was packed and ended up spilling over into a second room to make space for everyone (a good problem to have!).


Following all that, we wrapped up the day with a fantastic reception with food and drinks for all.

Check back with us tomorrow for another update!

HP Vertica named “Best Columnar Database”


“Like the emerging category of in in-memory database technologies, columnar databases are deployed in market segments where speed of data analysis is paramount…”

On August 4th, we were pleased and excited to learn that the HP Vertica Analytics Platform was crowned the winner in this years Database Trends and Aplications readers choice awards for “Best Columnar database.” Here at HP we work tirelessly around the clock to deliver you the fastest, most cutting edge Big Data Platform in the world. This is yet another recognition of our hard work and dedication, and for that we thank you! You can read the whole story here.

We hope to see you at the BDC next week!

Big Data Analytics: Blurring the Line Between Brick-&-Mortar and E-Retail Experience


As an online retailer, there are many challenges to face. You don’t have a physical outlet for customers to browse and see what they like, nor do you have a floor manager to recommend certain products or answer questions your customers might have. However e-retailers make up for that by enabling customers to look through an entire stores inventory before making a purchase, see suggestions made by the website based on their past browsing history, and in many cases are just a few clicks away from an online customer service rep. But how can e-retailers become just as personal, if not more so, than their brick-and-mortar counterparts? The answer for more e-retailers is Big Data analytics, and, more specifically, the HP Vertica Analytics Platform.

E-retailer Snapfish is a textbook example of using Big Data analytics with HP Vertica to revamp their online business. Every online company these days collects data – some more than others. Yet few actually know what to do with their data or don’t have an analytics system in place to capitalize on it. Prior to Vertica, Snapfish had much of the data they needed right there in front of them, but couldn’t access or take action fast enough.

  • Promotions based on customer behaviors were delivered too late
  • Popular card designs weren’t featured properly
  • Customer photos were stored online unsorted instead of automatically placed in books for purchase.

In order to create an online environment that is as personal as a physical store, e retailers have to be able to understand their customers goals, see what they do, and pick up on social cues in real-time just like one would in a face to face conversation. That’s why Snapfish chose HP Vertica.

Blazing-Fast Speed for Immediate Buyer Insight

Following the implementation of Vertica, Snapfish saw an immediate turnaround. They are now able to finish queries up to 400 times faster, and send out email promotions and offers to capitalize on near real-time trends. Snapfish can now see where customers on the site are going, what items they prefer, and identify overall trends that are taking shape, all of which they are able to do on the very same day instead of months down the line (it doesn’t help to know what kind of Christmas card customers prefer when its March, does it?).

One of the more fascinating aspects of Implementing HP Vertica that makes customers interaction seem more human is, perhaps ironically titled, the use of “machine learning techniques”. As I discussed in my last blog post about Vertica and CI Vertica works very well with R, the open-source language used by many data scientists for predictive analytics and data mining. Machine learning is the brains behind suggesting items to you that you may not have looked at, but are related to ones you have. For example, If you are shopping for a DSLR camera online it might suggest that you look at an extra battery, or perhaps recommend either an external flash or a shoulder mount, depending on whether you tended to gravitate towards equipment for photo or video use during your browsing. It is Vertica’s tight integration with R that allows these techniques to be put into action swiftly and effectively.

Vertica enabled Snapfish to react quickly to customers’ preferences and patterns, allowing them to market themselves accordingly, boost revenue and increase customer retention. As a highlight: Snapfish DBA’s can now perform look-up queries in under 200 milliseconds, enabling them to accurately recommend products to customers much more effectively than before, once again adding to that personal in-store feel that’s so important. Snapfish can now see where their customers on the site are going, what items they prefer, and observe the overall trends that are taking shape – just as if they were running a brick and mortar store. Big data analytics are clearly critical in tailoring customer experiences online to be more personal, and the faster you can execute the more valuable it will be for both.

To Learn more, click here to view our recent webinar with E-Retailer Etsy, where we discuss how they use HP Vertica to their advantage. Both e- retailers Etsy and One King’s Lane will be represented at our upcoming BDC in Boston to speak about their success stories with HP Vertica. Visit our registration page to learn more if you’re interested.

System Mechanics & HP Vertica

Vertica + SYSMEC

Last week, Andy Stubley interviewed by Briefings Direct, discussed how HP Vertica is a critical component to System Mechanic’s Zen, a fault, performance and social media service assurance solution for mobile networks. Below is a quick excerpt along with a link to the full article, check it out!

Gardner: Now that we understand what you do, let’s get into how you do it. What’s beneath the covers in your Zen system that allows you to confidently say you can take any volume of data you want?

Stubley: Fundamentally, that comes down to the architecture we built for Zen. The first element is our data-integration layer. We have a technology that we developed over the last 10 years specifically to capture data in telco networks. It’s real-time and rugged and it can deal with any volume. That enables us to take anything from the network and push it into our real-time database, which is HP’s Vertica solution, part of the HP HAVEn family.

Vertica analysis is to basically record any amount of data in real time and scale automatically on the HP hardware platform we also use. If we need more processing power, we can add more services to scale transparently. That enables us to get any amount of data, which we can then process…”

You can read the rest of the article here

Meet the team: Ben Vandiver

This week I sat down with Ben Vandiver, a Vertica veteran who’s been with the company since 2008, and talked about everything from influencing presidential elections, making an impact, and sword-fighting with interns.

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