Big Data Events Goldrush

Technology conferences, both announced and taking place, are showcasing Big Data in a big way this week.

Photo Credit: Kevin Teague

Conferences focused on Big Data, Analytics and NoSQL are on an upswing.  Both old players and new are producing events around big data, at destination venues and regional locations alike.  This is an especially big week, with both a long-established show and a new regional event taking place, and the announcement of a NoSQL conference getting revved for its second year.

The early birds
You may already know about shows like Strata + Hadoop World and Hadoop Summit.  They are impressive in their own right, and growing in attendance each year.  But what I find even more interesting are how shows without the Hadoop branding are reorienting towards Big Data or sprouting up to address it exclusively.

You got Big Data in my Business Intelligence
For example, this week, 1105 Media’s TDWI is holding its World Conference Series event In San Jose.  While the conference, which runs all week, features a number of BI and Data Warehousing gurus, a chunk of the content is focused on Big Data. The show features a keynote called “Big Data through the Looking Glass” and a few key Big Data sessions like “Considerations for Big Data Governance,”  “Big Data: What's All the Hadoop?” and “Big Data: Beyond the Hadoop-la.” (There are additional Big Data-focused sessions at the show, although no more featuring the Hadoop/hoopla pun.)  TDWI’s Web site is also warming up to Big Data, and features an entire “channel” focusing on Big Data Analytics.

Why would a BI organization re-focus like this?  Both to stay relevant, and because BI and Big Data, in large part, focus on the same thing: analyzing data rather than just collecting it.  Besides, TDWI already set a precedent when it switched from an exclusive focus on Data Warehousing and brought BI into the fold (“TDWI” originally stood for The Data Warehousing Institute).

Think global, attend local
Next on the events list is “StampedeCon,” a 1-day Big Data conference being held today in St. Louis.  Much of Stampede’s PR emanates Midwest, but there’s nothing small-town about the show.  The speaker roster includes representation from Kraft Foods, Nokia, Facebook and  What’s especially impressive about the Stampede speaker faculty is the representation within it from companies using Big Data and not just from vendors in the space.

StampedeCon is being held on the campus of the Washington University School of Medicine.  Its organizer, Gary Stiehr, is Group Leader, Information Systems at The Genome Institute at Washington University.  That’s quite fitting, given the role of Big Data in Genomics research, something I’ve written about previously.

NoSQL, YesConference
Then there’s the NoSQL world.  First there’s 10gen, the company behind MongoDB, which has a series of 1-day local events, including MongoNYC, MongoDB Seattle, MongoDB Munich and others.  And this week the folks at Couchbase, makers of an enterprise-focused variant of CouchDB announced on Tuesday that its second annual CouchConf World Tour will kick off in September with a show in San Francisco.  Given the coming release of Couchbase Server 2.0, a second annual CouchConf seems in order.  And beyond Cdouchbase’s own folks, the show will feature speakers from Sabre Holddings, McGraw Hill and TheLadders.

While NoSQL is not about Big Data per se, the two subjects are coinciding more and more.  CouchConf San Francisco will have a session called “Why Every Couchbase Deployment should be paired with Hadoop.”  And the MongoDB Seattle event, also in September, features a session on MongoDB’s aggregation framework and Hadoop integration.  Clearly NoSQL has Big Data on its mind.

Quo vadis Big Data?
Whether sustaining events on a standalone basis or influencing the content of more broadly focused events, Big Data is a hot item on lots of tech conference agendas.  This trend will only grow and, in the post-hype timeframe, Big Data will likely become a mainstream topic at most tech conferences.  The salad days are here now though, and it’s exciting to watch.