Opening Day for Postgres Vision 2017
By Keith Alsheimer
The sharpest minds in data management gathered for Postgres Vision 2017 this week in Boston to begin shaping a future with open source for harvesting strategic value and actionable insight from data. The first day of discussions spotlighted open source gains in artificial intelligence, strategies for achieving enterprise agility, and challenges in deploying DevOps frameworks.
The morning session featured expert keynotes followed by afternoon panels and breakout sessions. A central theme among many speakers was that an open source future is inevitable, but enterprises have a great deal to consider in applying open source to tackle modern data challenges.
In his opening keynote, Ed Boyajian, President and CEO of EnterpriseDB® (EDB™), summed up the overall challenge facing enterprises. Industry, he said, is facing the most radical business transformation in history given the abundance of choice and of complexity facing enterprises today. The key to a successful digital transformation in the midst of so much uncertainty is agility, with all companies fundamentally needing to become software companies to drive innovation.
To illustrate his point, Boyajian offered the principles of Big History. Big History is an emerging field of academic study that examines how humans fit in the universe and identifies repeating patterns that can help inform the future. Under this umbrella is a concept call the Goldilocks principle, which emphasizes how a correct set of conditions must be met. The Goldilocks principle then enables “threshold moments” that allow chaos and complexity, which actually become the catalysts for creativity. Applying these ideas to digital transformation, Boyajian advised attendees to seek technologies just as Goldilock chose, picking only those that are “just right” for their business as they deal with chaos and complexity.
Boyajian offered insights into how Postgres provides a “just right” technology option as the most versatile open source database available. He described how EDB Postgres is providing robust solutions to enable adoption of cloud, DevOps, microservices and machine learning.
Boyajian invited Senior Product Manager Jason Davis onstage to help demonstrate how open source-based technology like EDB Postgres is the ideal choice to enable a digital transformation, evidenced by its agile, modern, integrated, reliable and secure benefits. Davis conducted a live demo of EDB Postgres Ark™, a Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) for hybrid cloud deployments of Postgres to private and public clouds.
Open Technology Drives AI
Paul Zikopoulos, Vice President, Cognitive Big Data Systems, IBM, used his keynote to describe a world based on open technology and artificial intelligence driven by machine learning. More than just predictive analytics, machine learning attempts to augment human capability. Computers develop the ability to accurately see, hear, and feel human behavior and intent by recognizing data in patterns. It is parallel to the evolving modality of storage — a complete change in how data is stored and located. The concept of gestures becoming the new “human digital body language” created an explosion of data.
Although machine learning has been around for over 50 years, it is only in recent times that the capability has reached its potential. Zikopoulos said that we have gone from “everyone talks to everyone” to “everything talks to everything”, as social media matures and Internet of Things (IoT) evolves.
Today, enterprises have the capability to mine data to find strands of gold, said Zikopoulos. The next generation of machine learning will help deliver such precious and hard-won insight, and open technology will be key to enabling enterprise success. Zikopoulos said IBM is working under a sense of responsibility to offer continued support to the open source community.
Open as a Recruitment Tool
Enterprises have been challenged in finding recruits with skills versant in open source as deployments of new solutions expanded. This became a topic of discussion during the panel, Unlocking Advanced Intelligence.
Eddie Satterly, Director, Data & Product Engineering & Data Ops, IAG, reported that open source has been attractive for potential recruits and that database engineers are proactively applying to the company because they want the opportunity to use open source technologies.
Participation in the open source community allows DBAs to surround themselves with smarter, more talented people from whom they can learn, according to IBM’s Zikopoulos. With the world changing faster than companies can keep up, open source communities augment the learning cycles.
Struggle for Agility
Santiago Comella-Dorda, Partner at McKinsey & Company, shared his research on organizational agility during the morning keynote and panel discussion following. Enterprises are under pressure to deliver while radically reducing costs, and they are embracing agile as a philosophy to restructure organizational teams to extract operational savings and speed application delivery.
The rewards are measurable as the results from mature adopters of organization-wide agile practices are remarkably better than from companies that do not. According to Comella-Dorda, agile companies show superior health, financial, and operational performance. These benefits include a 90 percent reduction in time to market; productivity gains by 27 percent; cost reductions by 40 percent; and a 30 percent reduction in headcount.
John Rymer, Vice President, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, also shared a great deal of expertise, guidance, and sympathy for enterprises struggling with achieving greater agility. During his session, Integrating Data in Polyglot Persistence World — Better DevOps in the Cloud, Rymer said he recognized how difficult achieving agility in the enterprise was for most enterprises. Most enterprises recognize the difficulty as well, though they rarely require convincing anymore, a Rymer said. Just a few years ago he would need to explain the need.
EnterpriseDB chose Postgres Vision as the site to announce the launch of Postgres Rocks, a new user forum designed to foster conversation and ongoing collaboration among Postgres users. Postgres Rocks can be found at www.PostgresRocks.net. To read the press release with additional details, click here.
Free Postgres Training
EnterpriseDB rolled out a new free Postgres Training program during Postgres Vision. The new program makes available two on-demand courses from EnterpriseDB. The training provides a trusted resource and a solid foundation to the growing number of Postgres users implementing the database for larger and more complex applications. To read the press release with additional details, click here.
Postgres Vision 2017 continues on Wednesday, June 28 with a special Training and Certification Day at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, June 29.
Keith Alsheimer is Chief Marketing Officer at EnterpriseDB.