Archive for August, 2014

What’s New in Dragline (7.1.0): Installing HP Vertica Pulse

Installing HP Vertica Pulse Video

Installing Pulse from Vertica Systems on Vimeo.

HP Vertica 7.1.0 introduces the general availability of HP Vertica Pulse, our add-on sentiment analysis package for HP Vertica. Pulse provides a suite of functions that allow you to analyze and extract the sentiment from text, directly from your HP Vertica database. For example, you can use HP Vertica Pulse to analyze sentiment from Tweets or online product reviews to get a feel for how satisfied your customers are about your products or services.

HP Vertica Pulse automatically discovers attributes included in text and scores them using a built-in system dictionary. You can tune user-dictionaries to detect certain words or phrases, to determine how words are scored, and to filter out attributes that are of no interest to you. Because of this flexibility, you can tune HP Vertica Pulse to work for your specific business needs.

Currently, HP Vertica Pulse allows you to analyze English language text only. You can download HP Vertica Pulse as an add-on package for your Enterprise Edition or as a trial for your Community Edition, from Additionally, the Innovations section of the HP Vertica Marketplace offers a beta version of Pulse for Spanish only. Take a look at this video to learn how to install Pulse and stay tuned for our next video, ‘Using Pulse’.

HP Vertica Pulse documentation.

No limits: How Big Data changes competition Data drives the bottom line, and technology is no longer limiting your competitors.

This post is condensed from a full article in the latest issue of Discover Performance, HP Software’s hub for IT thought leadership.

Business technology has always been a world of give and take. The more you ask for, the longer you wait. As technology improves, we compromise less—and in the case of Big Data, we can’t afford to compromise at all.

Today’s Big Data analytics platforms are making it possible for organizations to give the business everything: all the data, from all sources, in all formats, in real time, without limits. It’s a novel idea for most organizations, but it’s in the DNA of young, agile companies. This new breed of business is killing the competition by holding technology to the highest possible standard and putting data at the top of the value pyramid.

To compete, the rest of the market will need to act urgently to change their data ideologies and reject limitations as they store and explore data, and serve analytics insights to the business.

Competing with the new natives
“Leading companies today are changing the user experience while it is happening,” says HP Vertica VP Joy King. King says Twitter, as an example, is using real-time analysis of user demographics and usage trends to deploy new features and UI variations on the fly to limited “cohort” populations. The result is that people who use Twitter differently get a different experience—immediately.

“Compare a company using that approach to a company that’s relying on a report that comes once a week or once a month,” King says. “Who do you think will win?”

To stay on top of the new competitive pace set by the data-native enterprise, join Discover Performance, and get all our Big Data insights in your inbox.

Is Big Data Giving You Grief? Part 5: Acceptance

“We can do this”

Over the last month or so, this series has discussed how organizations often deal with a missed big data opportunity in ways that closely resemble the grieving process, and how that process maps to the commonly understood five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This is the last entry in the series; it focuses on how an organization can move forward effectively with a big data project.

While big data is big, complicated, fast, and so forth, it is also very vague to most businesses. I was at an event recently where a poll question was asked of a room full of technology professionals – “How important is big data to your business?” A surprisingly high number of respondents felt that big data wasn’t relevant to them. Afterwards, I spoke with one of the attendees over lunch. I asked him what the primary challenges were to his business. It turns out that their business costs rely primarily on commodity costs – if the price of an input such as oil goes up or the supply is disrupted, the entire business is affected. I asked him whether he thought social media was relevant to his business, and he didn’t believe so. I then talked about how hedge funds have found that Tweets can be a very effective way of predicting commodity prices and availability disruptions. Until that moment, he was unaware that this was possible. This was what I call a “light bulb” moment. Suddenly, the appeal of big data became clear.

This experience highlighted for me a fundamental issue I see daily in the big data space – that it’s just too big (and vague) for many organizations to grasp its tangible value – an important pre-requisite to moving forward. So even while they go through all the stages of grief and struggle with the fact that their competitors may be outperforming them due to big data, companies also struggle with how to turn that into a plan of action.

Once they’ve worked their way through the realization that something’s wrong, organizations are often ready to take action. Here are some of the most helpful techniques I’ve seen businesses take over the years to begin an effective big data program – to accept the reality of the situation, and move forward.

Execute tactically, think strategically
For the organization first tackling big data, this is probably the most important thing to keep in mind. Big data projects rarely start with a crystal clear vision of what the strategic outcome should be. Uncertainty and hype around the opportunity, unfamiliarity with how to handle big data, lack of a data science competence, and so forth all create challenges that make it tough to articulate an up-front strategic vision.

But don’t interpret that as a pass to ignore the potential impact of a big data project. Thus the advice. Execute the project tactically – be prepared to move fast with the aim to demonstrate value quickly. And when the project is complete, a debrief with the business leadership is essential. In this debrief, answer two questions: How did applying big data matter to the business? And given what we’ve learned, how can our next project impact the business in a bigger way?

The answers are inputs to the next project, and over time can serve as a powerful guide to articulating a big data strategy for the business.

Don’t boil the ocean
Very often, when a group of people from an organization attend a big data event, they all come back very enthused about big data projects. Vendors love to talk about big-picture, blue sky notions of transforming businesses or industries with big data. It’s exciting stuff, but doesn’t lend itself to immediate action – especially for a business new to big data.

So don’t start there.

A much better approach is to identify measurable goals that can be tied to actions that can be completed in the right timeframe. What’s “the right timeframe”? Good question! In part, it depends on how open the business is to a big data initiative – if the leadership team is bearish on the idea and needs powerful convincing, it’ll be important to demonstrate value quickly. Also, immediacy is a powerful guide to enthusiasm – so don’t tell the IT team to disappear for a year and come back with a big data architecture. There’s no immediacy, and as a result there likely won’t be much focus. So don’t boil the ocean and try to do everything at once, in a big hurry. Start with focus, and retain it as you progress.

One foot in front of the other (and sometimes…baby steps!)
When an organization wakes up and realizes that it’s at risk of being left behind or otherwise outperformed by others due to big data, the first response can be panic. The CEO or CMO may set a goal for the team – catch up. This can kick everyone into overdrive quickly, which is great. But it can also set everyone running in different directions with a vague charter to do something to change the business…now!

The tendency is to start chasing the Big Goal – maybe something dramatic like “reinvent the business”. For the organization new to big data, this is a recipe for trouble. Developing any new core competence takes time, and nobody starts as an expert. Learning to incorporate big data into your business is the same thing. It’s probably not realistic to expect a team accustomed to managing enterprise applications (which might all be running on a twenty-year-old technology stack) to learn massively parallel technologies, large scale data management and data science in a week. Or a month. Or a year.

So put one foot in front of the other. Don’t expect to master big data overnight, and instead take measured steps. Pick a project with a strong return on investment to get stakeholders on board and get the technology team’s feet wet in new technology. Then make the next project somewhat more ambitious. As the team learns more about delivering these projects, it’ll be much more natural to assess larger questions such as revising technology architecture.

It’s not too late
Marketing is marketing and reality is reality. Just because one of your competitors released a success story about their big data program last week doesn’t mean that there’s no benefit for your company. And when an article shows up online or in the printed media that declares that the big data war is over, and you lost if you’re not one of a handful of companies – take it with a huge grain of salt. There’s nothing wrong with a big data project that makes your business more profitable, or drives more top line revenue. And while it’s fun to contemplate reinventing your company, there are plenty of practical (and do-able) opportunities for improving revenue, customer experience, efficiency, etc. So don’t think for a moment that it’s too late.

Furthermore, by waiting a bit, organizations can take advantage of the learnings of others – things to do, things to avoid, and so forth. And the tools will usually improve. And successful use cases will become easier to spot. All these factors will reduce the risk to your big data project, and increase the likelihood of success. So it’s not too late.

To Accept or Not
Sadly, not all organizations make it to this stage. I’ve seen companies get stuck in finger pointing exercises, or trapped in endless cycles of ill-defined big data “science projects” that never seem to produce anything tangible and never end, or even put on blinders and avoid big data completely. But for companies who get to a place where they’re ready to accept the challenge, there are opportunities to meaningfully impact the business. And there are frequently increasing returns on well-crafted big data projects – which is to say that for every additional dollar spent over time, the value to the business actually increases. I’ve seen this cycle unfold time and time again, and in every single case of which I’m aware, the organization has reached the stage I’m referring to as “acceptance”, and is moving forward in a well-planned fashion with an effective big data program.

In fact, as I write this I’m listening to the HP Vertica Customer Advisory Board talk about their experiences to date with Vertica. And every one of them has approached their big data program in the ways described above. And every one of them has discovered increasing returns to their big data investment over time.

So put big data grief aside, accept that big data can help your business, and get started!

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!

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