“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 10/1/2018

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category such as M&A activity, people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, customer wins, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Big data, data science, machine learning, AI and deep learning are advancing at break-neck speed. You’ll always get the late breaking news here! Let’s start with some new funding news … Instana, first monitoring solution to fully automate all aspects of application performance monitoring (APM), announced it has raised $30 million in Series C investment led by Meritech Capital with participation from existing investor Accel, bringing the company’s total funding to $57 million. The investment will be used to fulfill increasing demand for Instana’s automated monitoring solution for containerized microservice applications across global markets and expand its product line.

In the M&A category, we learned … MariaDB® Corporation announced it has acquired Clustrix, the pioneer in distributed database technology, for an undisclosed amount. With the acquisition, MariaDB adds scale-out capability that runs on premises with commodity hardware or in any cloud environment, with greater scalability and higher availability than other traditional distributed options such as Oracle RAC. The acquisition, which follows news of an additional investment in MariaDB to further database innovation, helps advance the MariaDB Labs mission to tackle the most extreme challenges in the database field, specifically around distributed computing, machine learning, and next-generation chips, memory and storage environments … NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP), the data authority for hybrid cloud, announced it acquired StackPointCloud, a leader in multi-cloud Kubernetes as-a-service and a contributor to the Kubernetes project. The combination of StackPointCloud with NetApp creates NetApp Kubernetes Service, the industry’s first complete Kubernetes platform for multi-cloud deployments and a complete cloud-based stack for Azure, Google Cloud, AWS, and NetApp HCI. NetApp will also benefit from the knowledge and experience of StackPointCloud’s CEO Matt Baldwin and other members of the team.

It must be the season for new partnerships, alignments and collaborations because we heard of quite a few … Linguamatics, a leading natural language processing (NLP) text analytics provider, and LabKey, a provider of bioinformatics data management solutions, announced an integrated solution designed to streamline the extraction and curation of valuable insights from large volumes of unstructured clinical notes and reports. With Linguamatics NLP engine I2E, healthcare and life sciences teams can significantly reduce the manual processes involved in information analysis and extraction. When integrated with LabKey Server’s document processing pipeline and curation user interface (UI), the combined solution provides an end-to-end pathway for unstructured data from acquisition to analysis … Aeris, a preferred Internet of Things (IoT) technology partner for the enterprise, and Altizon, a global industrial IIoT (Industrial IoT) platform company announced a strategic partnership integrating Altizon’s industry leading machine learning and IoT Edge technologies and Aeris’ IoT Services platform … MapR Technologies, Inc., provider of a leading data platform for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics, announced a formal alliance with Deloitte Consulting LLP centered around analytics and AI solutions. The joint alliance is aimed at helping customers benefit from advances in AI, reduce costs through modernizing their environments, and take advantage of innovations in IoT, Edge and Cloud. Solution areas of focus for the alliance include Big Data Modernization, Cloud Analytics and IoT Distributed Analytics … MapR® Technologies, Inc., a leading data platform for AI and Analytics, announced the availability of a Machine Learning-based (ML) data catalog with the MapR Data Platform. The new Waterline Data Catalog for MapR, a result of development collaboration and a reseller agreement with Waterline Data, is designed to address the speed and scale required for enterprise-wide data governance and management for next-generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics environments. The Age of AI and Analytics requires robust, automatic data governance tooling for big data given that critical business decisions are being made against data that must be searchable, high-quality and instantly identifiable. To achieve a high-level of confidence in the data, the integration of the MapR and Waterline Data solution considers more than a single environment by spanning disparate systems across the enterprise. The Waterline Data Catalog for MapR provides enterprise coverage using a full set of technologies supporting platform-based data security, data tagging, data rating, data lineage, catalog searching, data dictionary, and data lifecycle management for all data residing inside or outside of the big data platform … Baidu and Intel outlined new artificial intelligence (AI) collaborations showcasing applications ranging from financial services and shipping to video content detection. Specifically, Baidu Cloud* is leveraging Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors and the Intel® Math Kernel Library-Deep Neural Network (Intel® MKL-DNN) as part of a new financial services solution for leadaing China banks; the Intel OpenVINO toolkit in new AI edge distribution and video solutions; and Intel® Optane™ technology and Intel QLC NAND SSD technology for enhanced object storage.

Intel is collaborating with Baidu Cloud to deliver end-to-end AI solutions. Adopting a new chip or optimizing a single framework is not enough to meet the demands of new AI workloads,” said Raejeanne Skillern, Intel vice president, Data Center Group, and general manager, Cloud Service Provider Platform Group. “What’s required is systems-level integration with software optimization, and Intel is enabling this through our expertise and extensive portfolio of AI technologies – all in the name of helping our customers achieve their AI goals.”

Collibra, a leader in enterprise data governance and catalog software, announced its collaboration with the San Diego Supercomputer Center and other leading technology providers and experts to launch BlockLAB, a new blockchain research laboratory formed to explore and evaluate the principal technologies and business use cases in blockchains, distributed ledgers, digital transactions and smart contracts. This BlockLAB initiative is part of Collibra’s broader research efforts around rapidly evolving spaces like AI/ML, IOT, Data Skills Gaps and Cloud to guide customers in driving responsible data consumption and business value … Syncsort, a leader in Big Iron to Big Data software, announced that it has joined Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies hosted by the Linux Foundation. As a member, Syncsort will leverage its Syncsort Integrate data integration and data quality software and expertise to help support development of the shared technology resources while accelerating innovation through open source leadership and participation … Deep learning neural networks company Neurala has announced a partnership with Laserpas, one of the fastest growing utility asset management companies in the EU. Neurala’s computer vision and deep learning technology will be deployed as a critical element of Laserpas’ workflow, enabling more efficient aerial inspections and reducing the time it takes the company to analyze the data collected. Neurala’s technology will detect core components such as lattices, poles, and insulators, and identify damage or rust on those assets. This will allow Laserpas to eliminate safety risks for boots-on-the-ground inspectors, avoid hiring human labor to do dull tasks, and future-proof its business as it continues to scale … Royal Dutch Shell and C3 IoT announced that Shell has selected C3 IoT as its artificial intelligence (AI) platform to enable and accelerate digital transformation on a global scale. By deploying the C3 IoT Platform globally on Microsoft Azure, Shell expects to realize substantial economic value by rapidly scaling and replicating AI and machine learning applications across its upstream and downstream businesses and by improving operating performance, with an emphasis on health, safety, security, environment and asset performance.

There also has been a number of cloud integration announcements … ServiceChannel, a leading facilities management platform, announced it will integrate Microsoft Azure cloud services as part of its strategy to accelerate the understanding and adoption of IoT technologies by real estate and facilities professionals. The integration sets the stage for a wave of IoT innovation that will allow multi-site businesses to improve the on-site experience for customers while reducing operational and equipment costs … Snowflake Computing, the data warehouse built for the cloud, announced the general availability of Snowflake on Microsoft Azure. Customer demand for Azure, and the need for large organizations to have flexibility in choosing cloud options, prompted Snowflake to offer its solution as an Azure-based cloud computing option. Snowflake leverages Azure infrastructure services for data storage and query processing. In addition, it integrates with Azure services such as Azure Data Lake Store and Power BI. The platform also employs several new features, including limitless storage accounts, accelerated networking and storage soft delete. Snowflake is available in the Azure East-US-2 region, with more regions to be added in the months and years ahead … Seeq Corporation announces the availability of their advanced analytics solutions delivered via software as a service (SaaS) on Microsoft Azure. Seeq enables engineers and scientists in process manufacturing organizations to rapidly analyze, predict, collaborate, and share insights to improve production outcomes. Customers include companies in the oil & gas, pharmaceutical, chemical, energy, mining, food and beverage, and other process industries … Striim®, provider of an enterprise-grade platform for streaming data integration to the cloud, announced it has expanded its integration offerings for Microsoft Azure cloud services. Striim introduces additional hosted solutions for real-time, continuous data movement from a variety of sources to Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Database for PostgreSQL. These new offerings extend Striim’s existing Azure marketplace solutions for real-time data integration to Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Database, Azure Storage and Azure HDInsight … Striim®, provider of an enterprise-grade platform for streaming data integration, announced that it has expanded integration with Google®Cloud Platform™(GCP™) to continuously feed real-time data from a broad range of data sources to Google BigQuery™and Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL and MySQL.This integration helps Google customers to move toward a hybrid cloud infrastructure by making real-time enterprise data available for data warehousing, advanced analytics, operational reportingand machine learning solutions. Striim’s platform-as-a-service solutions for the GCP infrastructure platform simplify the creation of real-time data pipelines from existing databases and data warehouses into Google BigQuery and Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL and MySQL … CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, announced it has adopted Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as a foundational element of its ongoing technology and business transformation program. Google Cloud is a recognized global leader in delivering a secure, open, intelligent, and transformative enterprise cloud platform. Built on Google’s private network, GCP is a product of nearly 20 years of innovation in security, network architecture, collaboration and artificial intelligence.

In the new customer wins department we heard … Supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq:CRAY) announced that the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s National Weather Service, has expanded its Cray® XC40™ supercomputer with artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics capabilities. The Met Office added Cray’s Urika®-XC AI and analytics software suite to its supercomputer to unlock the highest levels of business value from the massive volumes of weather data it processes daily. The Met Office is using Cray’s Urika-XC suite to explore the use of new methods, such as machine learning, in extracting insights from observational and model data to better develop and customize commercial products, such as tailored forecasts. The Urika-XC suite was designed to run on Cray XC systems to eliminate the need for organizations to install new purpose-built analytics hardware and enable customers to run simulation and big data workloads on the same system … Cray Inc. also announced that it has delivered and installed a Cray® XC50™ supercomputer and a ClusterStor™ L300 storage system at Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI), the research and development arm for Japan Railways Group. The supercomputer will be used to perform railway research in the areas of applying new technologies and materials, enhancing simulation techniques, analyzing railway-specific phenomena and improving evaluation methods.

RTRI chose the Cray XC50 system for its processing capacity and for its ability to provide five times faster processing speeds, allowing researchers to run simulation programs to analyze technical issues in railways with more accuracy and provide more tangible solutions.

In people movement news we learned … Earnest Research, a leading analytics company pioneering the use of data on consumer behavior and company performance, has hired veteran engineering executive Yonatan Feldman as its Chief Technology Officer to oversee the development of a new generation of products at the company … Cloudera, Inc., (NYSE: CLDR), the modern platform for machine learning and analytics optimized for the cloud, announced the appointment of Scott Aronson as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Services. With more than 20 years of experience in the enterprise software industry, Aronson comes to Cloudera with a strong background in cloud computing, infrastructure software, data, security, and applications. He aims to develop Cloudera’s go-to-market team into a high-touch, customer success driven organization. Scott will be focused on enabling Cloudera’s enterprise customers to transform complex data into clear and actionable insights to grow, connect, and protect their businesses … Looker, a leading data platform company, announced that Nick Caldwell, formerly VP of Engineering at Reddit, has joined the company as its Chief Product Officer to lead the company’s Engineering and Product Management and Design teams. Nick brings over 15 years of engineering and product management experience to Looker. In two years as VP of Engineering at Reddit he grew the engineering team from 35 to 170 and led the major initiative to redesign and re-architect the 13-year-old site. Prior to Reddit, Nick worked at Microsoft as General Manager for the Power BI family, Microsoft’s first SaaS business intelligence (BI) offering. In three years, Nick grew the Power BI product and engineering teams to over 300 and drove the major technology advancements around advanced analytics, natural language processing, data visualization and BI in the cloud.

And finally, it’s been a big week for news relating to consumer data, with the Open Data Initiative announced by Microsoft, SAP and Adobe, and Salesforce’s Customer 360 ID news. We received the following commentary about this news from Manish Sood, CEO of Reltio:

This is exciting news for the industry and further confirms what we already know about the critical need for customer 360 initiatives in all enterprises in order to be competitive. But is it enough to foster better customer understanding, provide personalization at scale and provide a connected experience across all channels and functional groups? Standardizing on a common data model and having a universal Customer 360 ID is important, but such efforts have been historically insufficient. While common IDs and tight coupling of applications can solve some immediate problems, this creates new islands of data. It’s akin to removing data from one set of silos only to put it in another, bigger one. It’s time to think differently about how data needs to be continuously organized. Moreover, standalone customer data reconciliation does not offer much value unless the context of the profile becomes clear. The reason why LinkedIn and Facebook are such a success is because they were able to unlock the value of relationships. Extend that to customer information and you’ll see much more value is in the data when you decipher the relationships across entities like customers, households, stores, locations, products, parts and suppliers. The notion of customer 360 implies a comprehensive view of your customers. This means that both legacy systems that utilize separate silos of customer data and new applications that operate across a universal customer data store need to be supported. Companies that bet only on the Open Data Initiative or Salesforce Universal Customer ID effort will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage and won’t be capable of delivering full customer 360 experiences. What enterprises need is an approach that leverages modern Master Data Management (MDM) technologies, uses a foundation of trusted, reliable data, manages relationships across all data types, including interactions and transactions, and includes analytics and machine learning (ML) to ultimately deliver the best customer experiences.”


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