Friday, 10 October 2014

Review of Data Warehousing and Big Data at #OOW14

Data Warehousing and Big Data were at the heart of this year’s OpenWorld conference being across in a number of keynotes and a huge number of general sessions. Our hands-on labs were all completely full as people got valuable hands-on time with our most important new features. The key areas at this year’s conference were:

  • Big Data SQL - One Fast SQL Query for All Your Data
  • Database In-Memory - Powering the Real-Time Enterprise
  • Mutitenant - Plug your data warehousing Into the Cloud
 
DW 4 DW 3 DW 3

All these topics appeared in the main keynote sessions including live on-stage demonstrations of how each feature can be used to increased the performance and analytical capability of your data warehouse.

If you want to revisit the most important sessions, or if simply missed this year’s conference and want to catch up on all the most important topics, then I have put together a book of the highlights from this year’s conference. The booklet is divided into the following sections:

  • Key Messages
  • Overview of Oracle Database 12c
  • Session Catalogue
  • Your Oracle Presenters
  • Links
  • OpenWorld 2015
 

PDF-iBook

You can download my review in PDF format by clicking here. Hope this proves useful and if I missed anything then let me know. 

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Friday, 26 September 2014

Why SQL is becoming the goto language for Big Data analysis

Since the term big data first appeared in our lexicon of IT and business technology it has been intrinsically linked to the no-SQL, or anything-but-SQL, movement. However, we are now seeing that SQL is experiencing a renaissance. The term “noSQL” has softened to a much more realistic approach - a "not-only-SQL" approach. And now there is an explosion of SQL-based implementations designed to support big data. Leveraging the Hadoop ecosystem, there is: Hive, Stinger, Impala, Shark, Presto and many more. Other NoSQL vendors such as Cassandra are also adopting flavors of SQL. Why is there a growing level of interest in the reemergence of SQL? Probably, a more pertinent question is: did SQL ever really go away? Proponents of SQL often cite the following explanations for the re-emergence of SQL for analysis:

  1. There are legions of developers who know SQL. Leveraging the SQL language allows those developers to be immediately productive.
  2. There are legions of tools and applications using SQL today.
  3. Any platform that provides SQL will be able to leverage the existing SQL ecosystem.

However, despite the virtues of these explanations, they alone do not explain the recent proliferation of SQL implementations. Consider this: how often does the open-source community embrace a technology just because it is the corporate orthodoxy? The answer is: probably not ever. If the open-source community believed that there was a better language for basic data analysis, they would be implementing it. Instead, a huge range of emerging projects, as mentioned earlier, have SQL at their heart The simple conclusion is that SQL has emerged as the de facto language for big data because, frankly, it is technically superior. Let’s examine the four key reasons for this:

  1. SQL is a natural language for data analysis.
  2. SQL is a productive language for writing queries.
  3. SQL queries can be optimised.
  4. SQL is extensible.

 

1. SQL is a natural language for data analysis.

The concept of SQL is underpinned by the relational algebra - a consistent framework for organizing and manipulating sets of data - and the SQL syntax concisely and intuitively expresses this mathematical system.

Most business users, data analysts and even data scientists think about data within the context of a spreadsheet. If you think about a spreadsheet containing a set of customer orders then what do most people do with that spreadsheet? Typically, they might filter the records to look only at the customer orders for a given region. Alternatively, they might hide some columns: maybe the customer address is not needed for a particular piece of analysis, but the customer name and their orders are important data points. Finally, they might add calculations to compute totals and/or perhaps create a cross tabular report.

Within the language of SQL these are common steps: 1) projections (SELECT), 2) filters and joins (WHERE), and 3) aggregations (GROUP BY). These are core operators in SQL. The vast majority of people have found the fundamental SQL query constructs to be straightforward and readable representation of everyday data analysis operations.

 

2. SQL is a productive language for writing queries.

When a developer writes a SQL query, he or she simply describes the results that they want. The developer does not have to get into any of the nitty-gritty of describing how to get the results 

This type of approach is often referred to as  'declarative programming,’ and it makes the developer's job easier. Even the simplest SQL query illustrates the benefits of declarative programming:

SELECT day, prcp, temp FROM weather
WHERE city = 'San Francisco' AND prcp > 0.0;

SQL engines may have multiple ways to execute this query (for example, by using an index). Fortunately the developer doesn't need to understand any of the underlying database processing techniques. The developer simply specifies the desired set of data using projections (SELECT) and filters (WHERE).

This is perhaps why SQL has emerged as such an attractive alternative to the MapReduce framework for analyzing HDFS data. MapReduce requires the developer to specify, at each step, how the underlying data is to be processed. For the same “query", the code is longer and more complex in MapReduce. For the vast majority of data analysis requirements, SQL is more than sufficient, and the additional expressiveness of MapReduce introduces complexity without providing significant benefits.


3. SQL queries can be optimized

The fact that SQL is a declarative language not only shields the developer from the complexities of the underlying query techniques, but also gives the underlying SQL engine has a lot of flexibility in how to optimize any given query. 

In a lot of programming languages, if the code runs slow, then it's the programmer's fault. For the SQL language, however, if a SQL query runs slow, then it's the SQL engine's fault.

This is where analytic databases really earn their keep – databases can easily innovate ‘under the covers’ to deliver faster performance; parallelization techniques, query transformations, indexing and join algorithms are just a few key areas of database innovation that drive query performance.

 

4. SQL is extensible

SQL provides a robust framework that adapts to new requirements

SQL has stayed relevant over the decades because, even though its core is grounded in universal data processing techniques, the language itself can be extended with new processing techniques and new calculations. Simple time-series calculations, statistical functions, and pattern-matching capabilities have all been added to SQL over the years. 

Consider, as a recent example, what many organizations realized as they started to ask queries such as 'how many distinct visitors came to my website last month?' These organizations realized that it is not vital to have a precise answer to this type of query ... an approximate answer (say, within 1%) would be more than sufficient. This has requirement has now been quickly delivered by implementing the existing hyperloglog algorithms within SQL engines for 'approximate count distinct' operations. 

More importantly, SQL is a language that is not explicitly tied to a storage model. While some might think of SQL as synonymous with relational databases, many of the new adopters of SQL are built on non-relational data. SQL is well on its way to being a standard language for accessing data stored in JSON and other serialized data structures.  

 

Summary

SQL is an immensely popular language today … and if anything its popularity is growing as the language is adopted for new data types and new use cases. The primacy of SQL for big data is not simply a default choice, but a conscious realization that SQL is the best suited language for basic analysis

PS. Next week, many sessions at this year’s OpenWorld will focus on the power, richness and performance of SQL for sophisticated data analysis including the following:

Monday September 28

Using Analytical SQL to Intelligently Explore Big Data @ 4:00PM Moscone North 131

Joerg Otto - Head of Database Engineering, IDS GmbH
Marty Gubar - Director, Oracle
Keith Laker - Senior Principal Product Manager, Data Warehousing and Big Data, Oracle


YesSQL! A Celebration of SQL and PL/SQL @ 6:00PM Moscone South 103

Steven Feuerstein - Architect, Oracle
Thomas Kyte - Architect, Oracle


Tuesday September 29

SQL Is the Best Development Language for Big Data @ 10:45AM Moscone South 104

Thomas Kyte - Architect, Oracle

 

Enjoy OpenWorld 2014 and if you have time please come and meet the Analytical SQL team in the Moscone South Exhbition Hall. We will be on the Parallel Execution and Advanced SQL Processing demo booth (id 3720).

 

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Your indispensable guide to DW at OpenWorld in iBook and PDF formats

There's so much to see and learn at Oracle OpenWorld because it provides more educational and networking opportunities than any other conference dedicated to Oracle business and technology users. 

What to expect at OOW 2014 - We will be announcing a wide range of continuous data warehouse innovations in both hardware and software. Join Oracle experts as we dive deep into the latest generation of data warehouse innovations for analyzing enterprise data and diverse big data streams to derive real business value. You will also learn data warehouse best practices and hear from customers consolidating business analysis onto a common scalable platform. Hands-on labs are available for both beginners and experts giving you the chance to try some of these innovative data warehouse technologies first-hand.

To help you get the most from this year’s event I have put together a comprehensive downloadable guide of all the data warehousing and big data activities at @OracleOpenWorld 2014. If you are smartphone and/or tablet user then checkout our amazing web apps (see previous post OpenWorld on your iPad and iPhone - Now Fully Operational!). If you don’t have a tablet or a suitable smartphone of just want a downloadable booklet then this guide contains everything you need to help you get the most from this year’s conference, including the following:

  • Overview of OpenWorld - why you have got to be there!
  • Video Guide to Data Warehousing with Oracle Database 12c
  • Comprehensive day-by-day session calendar
  • List of must-see sessions
  • List of hands-on labs
  • Map of all the most important session and lab venues
  • List of demo pods and guide to demo grounds 
  • Comprehensive presenter biographies
  • Profiles for key Data Warehouse customers
  • Live twitter feeds from your data warehouse product managers
  • Links for more information

 

iBook Cover PDF Cover
Click here to download Guide in Apple iBook format

Please note that this Apple iBook can be used on any Apple Mac computer or iPad running the iBook application. iPod touch and iPhone users should use the PDF version of this guide.
Click here to download Guide in PDF format

Enjoy @OracleOpenWorld 2014  and if you have time please stop by the Parallel Execution and Analytical SQL demo booth in the demo grounds and say hello.

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OpenWorld on your iPad and iPhone - Now Fully Operational!

In one of my recent blog post I provided links to our OpenWorld data warehouse web app for smartphones and tablets. Now that the OOW team has released the hands-on lab schedule (it is now live on the OpenWorld site) I have updated my smartphone and tablet apps to include the list of hands-on labs on a day-by-day basis (Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). The list of hands-on labs can still be viewed in subject area order (data warehousing and big data) within the app via the “Switch to subject view” link in the top left part of the screen.

 

iPad-Labs.jpg iPhone-Labs.jpg

I have also added a location map which can be viewed by clicking on the linked-text, “View location map", which is in the top right part of the screen on each application. The location map that is available within both the tablet and smartphone apps is shown below:

Oow locations

If you want to run these updated web apps on your smartphone and/or tablet then you can reuse the existing links that I published on my last blog post. If you missed that post then  follow these links:

Android users: I have tested the app on Android and there appears to be a bug in the way the Chrome browser displays frames since scrolling within frames does not work . The app does work correctly if you use either the Android version of the Opera browser or the standard Samsung browser on Samsung devices. 

Please note that I have also published online calendars (via my Google account) which can viewed via the following blog posts:


If you have any comments about the app (content you would like to see) then please let me know. Enjoy OpenWorld and, if you have time, it would be great to see you if you want to stop by at the Parallel Execution and Analytical SQL demo booth.

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Online Calendar for Data Warehousing Hands-on Labs at OpenWorld now available

There so many exciting hands-on labs at this years OpenWorld conference and the schedule builder is now live so you can start booking your seat at these labs. To help you get organized and pick the most useful labs to attend I have published a new shared online calendar that contains all the most important data warehouse and big data hands-on labs at this year’s OpenWorld. The following links will allow you to add this shared calendar to your own calendar application:

 

HOL-Calendar.jpg

 

Hope this helps you get organised for this year’s incredible conference. Any comments then let me know. The online calendar for all the most important data warehousing and big sessions is available via my previous blog post “Online Calendar for Data Warehousing Sessions at OpenWorld now available”. 

Enjoy.

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Online Calendar for Data Warehousing Sessions at OpenWorld now available

I have published a shared online calendar that contains all our data warehouse and big data sessions at this year’s OpenWorld. The following links will allow you to add this shared calendar to your own calendar application:

 

oow-calendar

As soon as the dates and times for the keynote sessions are published I will add these to the calendar so keep checking for updates.

Hope this helps you get organised for this year’s incredible conference. Any comments then let me know and if I missed your data warehouse/big data session then let me know and I will add it to the calendar.

Enjoy.

 

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OpenWorld on your iPad and iPhone - UPDATED!

In my last blog post I provided links to our OpenWorld data warehouse web app for smartphones and tablets. Now that the OOW team has released the session schedule (it is now live on the OpenWorld site) I have updated my iPhone and iPad apps to include the list of sessions on a day-by-day basis (Sunday, Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). The list of sessions can still be viewed in subject area order (data warehousing, performance and scalability, analytics, unstructured data, industry models and big data) within the app via the “Switch to subject view” link in the top left part of the screen.

 

Updated-iPad-OOW2014 Updated-iPhone-OOW2014

I have also added a location map which can be viewed by clicking on the linked-text, “View location map", which is in the top right part of the screen on each application. The location map that is available within both the iPad and iPhone apps is shown below:

Oow locations



If you want to run these updated web apps on your smartphone and/or tablet then you can reuse the existing links that I published on my last blog post. If you missed that post then  follow these links:

Android users: I have tested the app on Android and there appears to be a bug in the way the Chrome browser displays frames since scrolling within frames does not work . The app does work correctly if you use either the Android version of the Opera browser or the standard Samsung browser on Samsung devices.

If you have any comments about the app (content you would like to see) then please let me know. Enjoy OpenWorld and, if you have time, it would be great to see you if you want to stop by at the Parallel Execution and Analytical SQL demo booth.

 

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