Big data growth has driven strong use cases for Hadoop, the open source grid storage technology, according to executives representing Home Depot, Rogers Communications, Schlumberger, Symantec and Verizon at Hadoop Summit.

The conversation took center stage at a keynote panel hosted by Hortonworks President Herb Cunitz. Among the participants:

  • Sam Gentsch, Manager IT, Home Depot
  • Chris Dingle, Senior Director, Audience Solutions, Rogers Communications
  • Anil Varma, Vice President, Data Science & Analytics, Schlumberger
  • David T. Lin, Cloud Platform Engineering, Leader and Evangelist, Symantec
  • Rob Smith, Executive Director of IT, Verizon

Sound Bites From the Stage

Symantec's Lin described how Hadoop's horizontal scalability is critically important as the company manages larger and larger volumes of data across the IT security landscape. Lin also said to succeed with Hadoop you should be able to "play" with it in a safe, secure way to help discover use cases. To do that, Symantec used OpenStack to trigger self-service virtual machines for Hadoop clusters that users could try.

Rogers Communications' Dingle has "petabyte-scale" data and needs to go "across organizations" to gain a 360-degree view of the customers across call centers, online and more. He also mentioned that the technologies are all now in place -- but the organizational part (training employees) is the piece that companies really need to think through.

Verizon's Smith described how Hadoop is really about business outcomes -- organizing and managing data to better serve end-customers.

Sclumberger's Varma and Verizon's Smith described how data scientists are popping up in the company across each department (finance, marketing, etc.) -- and gaining visibilty across multiple channels.

On the security front, Hortonworks' Cunitz played devil's advocate -- asking if centralizing data in Hadoop actually weakens security. In response, Symantec 's Lin described how (A) it built a private cloud to protect data in Hadoop and leveraging an open ecosystem to further improve security. Plus, Symantec's Lin says (B) its analysts are now free to be more creative -- diving into data and spotting new discoveries that actually improve security.

History Lessons

So what would these big data customers do differently if they had a chance to start over with big data and Hadoop? The short answers:

1. Verizon's Smith: "Don't underestimate the demand if you're successful. Make sure your first use case delivers specific value to the business."

2. Symantec's Lin: "Kill the fear. Just figure it out. Get it started and go."

3. Schlumberger's Varma: "Figure out how to staff it and the executive-level sponsorship. Figure out the framing for your organizational journey."

4. Rogers' Dingle: "Just get started and meet with user groups. We were up and running with our first Hadoop clusters in five business days."

5. Home Depot's Gentsch: "Start with Kerberos on day one."

During the closing keynote, best-selling author Geoffrey Moore offered this soundbite: "We're across the chasm. There are compelling use cases that are driving Hadoop forward."

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