Dataware for data-driven transformation

Convergence Seminars - Stories from the Wild on Multi-Cloud, Kubernetes, Edge Computing, AI, and Machine Learning

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7 min read

So much is written about big data, it's hard to keep up. What if, instead of reading about it, you take a day to talk directly with executives, practitioners, technical experts, and thought leaders, who are leveraging data at scale across a wide range of businesses to great advantage?

That's what the MapR Convergence seminar series does – one-day events that let you hear from the speakers and from the audience about how they are putting data and new technologies to work to solve real-world challenges. From cost savings to new lines of business, modern large-scale data approaches offer real benefits, if you know how best to use them.

Convergence is a different kind of conference, much more interactive than is typical. It not only makes the seminars enjoyable and engaging, it also means each event unfolds differently, based on the ideas and challenges introduced by the audience. In addition to presentations by speakers from a variety of companies and networking during breaks, there are three times in the agenda that are entirely interactive:

  • a lightning round before lunch, during which audience participants are invited to offer input, describe use cases, and raise questions;
  • an expert panel at the end of the day to discuss topics of interest that have come up during the conference and to hear once again from the audience;
  • an after-conference reception for socializing and networking and, in some cases, to enjoy a book signing with participating authors.

A number of themes are common to the different events, such as tackling some myths that have arisen around big data. These include what is needed beyond the algorithm to make AI and machine learning successful, what are the best strategies for your journey to cloud and multi-cloud, and what else is needed to make Kubernetes orchestration of containerized applications fully effective. But each Convergence seminar takes on its own flavor, based on the location. The customer and partner presentations reflect topics of particular interest in each region, and of course the audience input makes each seminar unfold differently.

Most recently, I was at MapR Convergence events in Atlanta, Georgia, and Frankfurt in Germany. As a speaker, I was reporting on what we've observed among people with large-scale analytics and AI/machine learning applications running successfully in production. The ability to build a data fabric that can span multiple data centers on-premises, in hybrid with cloud deployments and multi-cloud systems, turns out to be a huge advantage. Among the technologies that make it practical to do are Kubernetes for orchestration of containerized applications and a data platform with the right capabilities to interact with Kubernetes to persist data from stateful applications. MapR is one such data platform. The flexibility and predictability that containerization brings makes a big difference to both development and production systems, whether they are on-premises or in cloud deployments. Efficient containerization is more than just a convenience – it's also a big advantage for multi-tenant systems.

Another great aspect of the Convergence events is the setting. I particularly enjoyed the part of the Frankfurt event that spilled over into the courtyard of this beautiful venue, the Villa Kennedy, during breaks and the after-event reception. It was at the reception when Ted Dunning, MapR Chief Application Architect, and I signed copies of our book Machine Learning Logistics for conference participants.

Ellen Friedman, presenting at MapR Convergence 2018 MapR: MapR Convergence 2018, Frankfurt (Germany) Watch the video

A number of speakers at different Convergence events have highlighted their experience with Kubernetes-orchestrated containerization of applications. At the Atlanta event, for instance, Solutions Engineer Kevin Sturgeon provided a live demonstration of deep learning for image recognition with containerized applications running on the MapR Data Platform. He also talked about the combination of streaming data plus containerization as a way to deliver and store video data.

Security expert John Omernik has been a speaker at several Convergence events, including one in London in June. John has great stories about how to leverage data to thwart the actions of various "bad guys" who continue to attack websites and businesses. In London, John also brought up some key issues of security that need to be considered in cloud and multi-cloud strategies, a topic discussed by the expert panel that included CTO Tom Fisher. Tom and other panel members provided practical advice about not only the advantages of cloud deployments but also potential challenges in moving data and computation to cloud and multi-cloud environments.

John Omernik, Distinguished Technologist for MapR, presenting at MapR Convergence 2018 London seminar. Video of presentation.

John will be doing a presentation on security in New York on September 20 at the MapR Convergence seminar, along with speakers presenting on a range of different topics. Manny Puentes, Founder & CEO of Rebel AI, will talk about "Building Big Data Platforms for Better Business Decisions." AI and machine learning are also common themes in the Convergence events. In New York, Suren Nathan, VP of Engineering Analytics and Digital Transformation Solutions at Synchronoss, will talk about "Using Embedded Machine Learning to Drive Business Value." Ted Dunning will present "Six Real-World Tales of Finding Value in AI and Machine Learning," a down-to-earth description of machine learning in business terms. And we'll be signing print copies of our newest book, AI and Analytics in Production: How to Make It Work, just published this September. (You can download a free pdf of the book here.)

Why not join us in New York or at one of the other MapR Convergence events?

Register for upcoming MapR Convergence events, plus find details about speakers, topics, and venues here.

Download free copies of eBooks by me and Ted Dunning, mentioned in this article:

This blog post was published September 18, 2018.

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