Aweekstweets November 15-22 2009—whole week’s blather scraped, classified, with extended commentary only on the tech-related stuff
JK2—We’re always trying to rebuild the brain. Now we’re ratcheting down our ambition: mimicking carnivore gray matter because we don’t have the computer power to do justice to our own wetware circuitry. I recommend we start by replicating the most primitive brains in the animal kingdom: insects (do they even have brains?). Why start there? Well, because they’re such an incredibly successful category of organisms...they might have something to teach us, if we can learn to think like them. Cats? They’re recently evolved camp followers of homo sapiens. From an evolutionary standpoint, they’ll teach us what we already know: if you protect the food supply from rodents, generally keep to yourself, and provide a passive object of comfort and companionship, you have a warm place in the human hearth—as long as humans themselves survive. Insects are something entirely different: they’ll survive whether or not we do, and they might contribute to our downfall. Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.
JK2—Let’s not imagine that everybody everywhere wants to spend every day experiencing the world through reports, dashboards, and other other visualization containers we associate with specialized business intelligence (BI) solutions. Most of us want all of these contextualizers, but embedded in all the apps and services we use. And let’s not imagine that everybody wants to see every scrap of information packaged in a BI-like experiences: with prebuilt visualizations, context, and insights. So it’s not productive to view the world through purely BI-colored glasses. What I love most about the Web is the passing parade of people, situations, events, images, information, trends, and experiences—arbitrary, complex, confusing, sprawling, stimulating, open-ended. The masses are happy to derive their own meanings from these messes.
JK2—Will enterprises evolve toward hybrid BI environments hosted partly on-premises and partly in the SaaS/cloud. Will the departments be allowed to mashup their own BI reports and dashboards on outsourced SaaS/cloud services, while the enterprise as a whole uses a premises-based platform? Won’t one approach crowd out the other over time as corporate IT looks to consolidate on a single platform? Either SaaS/cloud will become the dominant BI deployment approach for companies of all sizes, or the dominant approach for one segment, such as the midmarket. Or the dominant approach for deployment of one category of BI capability—such as predictive analytics against cloud-sourced data—while the core of BI is still deployed on on-premises platforms.
JK2—Nobody truly knows the future. Some of us have models that have proven quite good at predicting futures with a reasonable degree of confidence, based on observations. That’s what predictive modeling is all about. Where analytics is concerned, there has never been a “next big thing.” Instead, all the old things (and data mining is certainly an old established discipline) just keep evolving aggressive new marketing messages to justify customers’ continued loyalty.
JK2—The key gating factor on predictive analytics’ adoption has always been the specialized statistical and mathematical knowledge required to use these tools effectively. That constraint is beginning to ease, thanks to the development of more automated visual tooling for data discovery, exploration, preparation, and modeling. But this is still a math-geek-intensive discipline—much more than, say, core BI. Let’s be honest with ourselves. No true “next big thing” demands that you first go back for college-level training in statistics.
JK2—I’m a bit fatalistic about speaking to the press. Even when they quote me correctly, and place that quote in the right context in a well-written article, a misleading headline can screw it all up. Jeff did a good job on this one except for the headline. There’s no mention anywhere in this article of a free DW appliance (software plus hardware in a complete, no-charge package) being offered by any vendor. If there were, that would definitely be news.
JK2—In-database analytics is a capability that most DW/DBMS platforms support, as do most predictive analytics and data mining tools. It’s all about tools exporting models as PMML, or as native SAS code, or as Java archives, or any of various other approaches—and DW/DBMSs’ importing them and executing those models as user-defined functions (UDFs) or some other approach. Of course, vendors vary widely in the range of data mining functions—such as data preparation, regression analysis, and scoring—that can be done on which tools’ models by which DW/DBMS vendors’ platforms.
JK2—Excuse me for being quick with the metaphorical comeback.
JK2—IBM was the sole advertiser on that issue.
JK2—No matter how I score the various vendor tools on my forthcoming Forrester Wave for Predictive Analytics and Data Mining Solutions, I’m going to face a boatload of ire from devotees of the lower-scored tools. And even from users of the higher-scored tools who will point out the myriad feature their vendor has never got quite right—but which are not showstoppers that would cause these users to abandon the stat tools they’ve been using since their college days.
JK2—I’m more than happy covering the myriad not-quite-that-big things that loom large in the daily nitty-gritty of enterprise computing. A more sustainable career than riding the wave of fast-rising bubble technologies that may be big next year but obsolete the year after.
JK2—That’s the thrust of my Service-Oriented Analytics discussion.
JK2—There are many ways to skin the “self-service operational BI” cat, and almost every vendor in this arena is doing it by a blend of these and other approaches. Everybody’s trying to take this technology out of IT’s hands and put the users in the driver’s seat. Very little of it is rocket science. Most of it is well-established and well-understood, has stable usage and integration patterns, and can be automated to a greater degree than we like to admit.
JK2—Microsoft’s strategic error on cloud DW was building one stovepipe analytic database environment for Azure, and another one for SQL Server. They’ll spend several years converging them, and it won’t be pretty. And it won’t be in time to make much headway against Amazon, Google, IBM, Teradata, and others who are getting there first with more integrated cloud DBMS/DW solutions—in IBM and Teradata’s cases, with the same core database in premises-based and public clouds.
JK2—That list is more or less in descending order—from strong/promising to weak/non-existent--of the cloud strategies of DW vendors in today’s market.
JK2—See tweet explaining this, earlier in this aweekstweets. Lots of DW/DBMSs can import models in native SAS code. Aster can even execute those models, without conversion, in a SAS executable runtime container in the new nCluster v4.
JK2—Milestone in the ordinary product-management sense that it’s one step closer to go-live for Microsoft. Will Azure represent an industry milestone in the maturity, sophistication, and adoption of cloud computing in corporate environments? 2010 will be the year we learn.
JK2—Windows—with its schizoid “wait forever for your latest goddamn mouse-click to advance the cursor a millimeter on screen” GUI—has rarely been quick, and—with the blue screens of death, malware infestations, and general look-and-feel madness—has often been dirty.
JK2—I’d be interested in knowing how exit-polling on elections matches up with same-time voice-of-voter polls as expressed in the twit-o-blog-o-sphere.
JK2—Even difficult to explain to DBAs—and to other analysts.
JK2—In a commoditized market with a couple dozen competitors, re-startups had better have some awesomely innovative verge-of-commercialization technology in the labs to have a snowball’s chance.
JK2—For example: Can social network analysis detect the outlines of the GOP agenda and presidential candidate shortlist for 2012 even though it’s 3 years from now? And can these algorithms outdo the human pundits in this regard? That’d be like a football coach having a mole in the opposition’s huddle.
JK2—Quite frankly, dreams are often a distraction from the main business of life. Dreams are just rapid eye movements and herky-jerky unconscious muscle spasms. Sell people quiets, comfy pillows, and firm mattresses.
JK2—Seriously. MySQL is what? The 13th or 14th most popular DBMS in the world.
JK2—Mostly just an internal private cloud at IBM. The commercialized cloud will be for IBM mainframe customers. I’m still waiting for an IBM smart analytics public and private cloud that will be virtualized across DB2 and Informix, and across all OS and hardware platforms. I don’t know yet where IBM is going with this, or whether in fact they plan to go that all-encompassing.
JK2—Is Cray a stand-alone company or a product group within some larger vendor? Will have to look them up—again.
JK2—The point of this tweet was that SAS is the largest predictive analytics and data mining vendor by market share—hence many predictive models have been built with its tools—hence DW vendors that do in-database analytics should be able to integrate with and execute the full range of procedures, including scoring and regression-, on SAS models—hence it’s good that Netezza has a SAS partnership. Netezza’s partnership with Fuzzy Logix, vendor of the DB Lytix in-db enabling tool, is important for Netezza in-database analytics on a wide range of third-party PA/DM tool vendors’ models. Whew—hard point to make without lots of detail and nuance. Thank goodness for aweekstweets (assuming anybody actually reads this).
JK2—Sentiment analysis is in danger of becoming too popular, pre-empting formal opinion polls and focus groups, pre-empting the need to actually talk to your customers to see what’s on their minds.
JK2—In petabyte and multi-100-TB DWs, the data’s getting too massive to move. For that, and other reasons, move the predictive and other analytic logic to the DW, rather than vice versa.
JK2—I’m definitely going to have to SWOT the DW and PA/DM vendors’ in-database analytics features more finely in the coming year.
JK2—That’s fine, but I still don’t have any meaningful details on IBM Smart Analytics System appliances. Still waiting. Getting a briefing update from them in December.
JK2—SAS knows this is a must for their customers to continue scaling up and out.
JK2—Here I’ll simply re-post the full response from a few tweets above: “JK2—The point of this tweet was that SAS is the largest predictive analytics and data mining vendor by market share—hence many predictive models have been built with its tools—hence DW vendors that do in-database analytics should be able to integrate with and execute the full range of procedures, including scoring and regression-, on SAS models—hence it’s good that Netezza has a SAS partnership. Netezza’s partnership with Fuzzy Logix, vendor of the DB Lytix in-db enabling tool, is important for Netezza in-database analytics on a wide range of third-party PA/DM tool vendors’ models. Whew—hard point to make without lots of detail and nuance. Thank goodness for aweekstweets (assuming anybody actually reads this).”
JK2—It’s funny that the headline writer put “fluff up” in there, as if these vendor’s announcements were insubstantial. They weren’t insubstantial, but they didn’t begin to address the pricing issues that will determine whether any of the new services are cost-effective for the mass market anytime soon. My hunch is that we’re due for a nasty price war among the cloud app/platform vendors in 2010-2012, with packaged software license revenues (watch out Microsoft!) taking a huge hit.
JK2—What’s Twitter? A cloud of colloquial noise. You can hide juicy tweetborne content in plain sight—i.e, won’t pass through the filters of many sophisticated text analytics NLP engines, because essentially written in ad-hoc arbitrary you-and-your-friends-specific code language.
JK2—Interesting on many levels. But they have yet to identify a killer app.
JK2—DW vendors missing from SAS partnership: Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Sybase.
JK2—Give it up world. You’re visible from space. You’re also visible from airplanes and hot-air balloons. Blame the Wright and Montgolfier Brothers, if you have to start somewhere.
JK2—I saw another mention of Wolfram Alpha in a vendor’s partner slides the other day. Who exactly is using it?
CONTINUING-TO-INDULGE-IN-SOCIAL-MEDIA-ARE-CHANGING-THE-VERY-FABRIC-OF-OUR-POSTMODERN-EXISTENCE-WAIT-A-SEC-WHY-AREN’T THESE IN TECH-TWEET? TWEETS
Teaching myself to stop worrying and love the calendar. Starting to call next year "twenty-ten" and back-fit "twenty-oh-nine" to this one. 11 minutes ago from TweetDeckFrom itd.daily@it -director.com: "'It is wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago.' Dan Quayle:" JK--Huh? Why pick on him anymore? 6:56 AM Nov 19th from TweetDeck