Cloud Data Services at IBM Insight
The Cloud Data Services booth in the IBM Insight Solution Expo.

Several of us from the Cloud Data Services team headed to Las Vegas last week to join 14,000 customers, business partners, and coworkers for IBM Insight, our annual conference on data and analytics. There were over 30 sessions from members of the Cloud Data Services team! People from our team could also be found giving demos and working the Solution Expo floor, where many of the Cloud Data Services offerings were on display.

Making Data Easy

“At Cloud Data Services, we’re on a mission to make data easy.”

-Derek Schoettle, General Manager of IBM Cloud Data Services

On Tuesday morning, Cloud Data Services General Manager Derek Schoettle took the main stage at IBM Insight. He opened by saying, “At Cloud Data Services, we’re on a mission to make data easy.” Developers have a limited amount of time to spend building, integrating, and operating today’s complex applications. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a comprehensive set of composable data services that allows developers to focus on building the next great app, rather than focus on operations, security, and administration. Many of our services are based on open source technologies, giving developers a range of data layer choices.

“The move to Cloudant got BIG WIN Soccer back up-and-running and it’s gone on to be a pretty successful game for us.”

-Joel DeYoung, Director of Technology for Hothead Games

Joel DeYoung of Hothead Games on stage along with Derek Schoettle, General Manager of IBM Cloud Data Services.
Joel DeYoung of Hothead Games on stage at IBM Insight along with Derek Schoettle, General Manager of IBM Cloud Data Services. Watch the recording on IBM InsightGO (Derek Schoettle and Joel DeYoung are at 22:35).

Derek then introduced Joel DeYoung of Hothead Games who talked about how Hothead Games used IBM Cloudant to instantly scale their offerings based on user traffic. Back in 2012 Hothead Games pivoted their business from making console games to making mobile games. They invested a lot of time and energy into the infrastructure to support their first mobile game, BIG WIN Soccer. Then, their app was featured in Apple’s App Store. They saw much more traffic than anticipated and had trouble keeping the game up-and-running. The biggest opportunity for their company was quickly turning into an operational crisis.

Hothead Games needed to scale quickly, so they turned to IBM Cloudant. BIG WIN Soccer used Apache CouchDB, and IBM Cloudant is based on Apache CouchDB. This meant that Hothead Games was immediately working with a team that understood their codebase. The Cloud Data Services team worked with Hothead Games to spin up a dedicated cluster, move their data over, and get things operating again at scale. Joel concluded, “The move to Cloudant got BIG WIN Soccer back up and running and it’s gone on to be a pretty successful game for us.”

Building Today’s Business in the Cloud

“To provide the best experience for developers, data scientists, and business analysts to build and engage with a set of rich, integrated data services, covering content, data, and analytics.”

–The mission of IBM Cloud Data Services

Derek Schoettle talking about about how IBM Cloud Data Services is Open for Data.
Derek Schoettle talking about about how IBM Cloud Data Services is Open for Data. Watch the recording on IBM InsightGO.

On Tuesday afternoon, Derek Schoettle led a Super Session on Building Today’s Business in the Cloud where he walked the audience through the IBM Cloud Data Services offerings. Our mission is “to provide the best experience for developers, data scientists, and business analysts to build and engage with a set of rich, integrated data services, covering content, data, and analytics.” Data and analytics are the two pillars that allow us to do this, as there is no analytics without data and there is no value to be had out of data if you don’t analyze that data.

Derek presented a scenario of a retail shoe store CEO and Data Team to represent the perspective of an actual user. The hypothetical Data Team consisted of an Enterprise Developer, Data Engineer, Data Scientist, and Operations Business Analyst using:

  • Cloudant as their operational data store
  • dashDB to forecast and predict holiday shopping trends
  • Simple Data Pipe to pull data from Salesforce and Stripe
  • IBM Watson Analytics to quickly target users
  • DataWorks to capture, cleanse, prepare, and move data
  • IBM PureData for Analytics
  • IBM Analytics for Apache Spark
  • “Very shortly we’re going to have a much better view of our customers, and the reason that we’re going to have that is because we’re going to have that real time interaction from the stores directly back to corporate.”

    -Mark Beeson, Manager of Web Services at Skechers USA, Inc.

    Super Session Attendees
    Attendees at the Cloud Data Services IBM Insight Super Session.

    Derek then introduced Mark Beeson of Skechers who talked about how their situation is very similar to the scenario described by Derek. Skechers is working hard to create an omnichannel experience for their customers. This means that if you go into a Skechers retail store and find shoes that you like but they don’t have in your size, Skechers can ship those shoes in your size directly to your house, complete with free shipping. They’re also working on adding the ability to buy online and pick up your shoes in a store. Mark added, “Very shortly we’re going to have a much better view of our customers, and the reason that we’re going to have that is because we’re going to have that real time interaction from the stores directly back to corporate.” This is all made possible by a collection of web services, built on top of IBM Cloudant, that they call the retail web core.

    Humans vs. Spark

    Humans vs. Spark

    Humans trying to beat Apache Spark at Rock, Paper, Scissors.
    Humans trying to beat Apache Spark at Rock, Paper, Scissors.

    Back in July we opened the beta of IBM Analytics for Apache Spark. This past week we were happy to announce the general availability of IBM Analytics for Apache Spark! Our Developer Advocacy team put together a fun Rock, Paper, Scissors demo using Apache Spark for the dev@Insight area of the Solution Expo. Attendees could play a round of Rock, Paper, Scissors against Apache Spark. As more people played, Spark would look for patterns and predict the best next move. Sorry humans, but it looks like Spark won the most number of rounds. Soon, we’ll share how this was built and publish the code on GitHub.

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