DiscoverData Engineering Podcast
Data Engineering Podcast

Data Engineering Podcast

Author: Tobias Macey

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This show goes behind the scenes for the tools, techniques, and difficulties associated with the discipline of data engineering. Databases, workflows, automation, and data manipulation are just some of the topics that you will find here.
121 Episodes
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One of the biggest challenges in building reliable platforms for processing event pipelines is managing the underlying infrastructure. At Snowplow Analytics the complexity is compounded by the need to manage multiple instances of their platform across customer environments. In this episode Josh Beemster, the technical operations lead at Snowplow, explains how they manage automation, deployment, monitoring, scaling, and maintenance of their streaming analytics pipeline for event data. He also shares the challenges they face in supporting multiple cloud environments and the need to integrate with existing customer systems. If you are daunted by the needs of your data infrastructure then it's worth listening to how Josh and his team are approaching the problem.
Designing the structure for your data warehouse is a complex and challenging process. As businesses deal with a growing number of sources and types of information that they need to integrate, they need a data modeling strategy that provides them with flexibility and speed. Data Vault is an approach that allows for evolving a data model in place without requiring destructive transformations and massive up front design to answer valuable questions. In this episode Kent Graziano shares his journey with data vault, explains how it allows for an agile approach to data warehousing, and explains the core principles of how to use it. If you're struggling with unwieldy dimensional models, slow moving projects, or challenges integrating new data sources then listen in on this conversation and then give data vault a try for yourself.
Every business collects data in some fashion, but sometimes the true value of the collected information only comes when it is combined with other data sources. Data trusts are a legal framework for allowing businesses to collaboratively pool their data. This allows the members of the trust to increase the value of their individual repositories and gain new insights which would otherwise require substantial effort in duplicating the data owned by their peers. In this episode Tom Plagge and Greg Mundy explain how the BrightHive platform serves to establish and maintain data trusts, the technical and organizational challenges they face, and the outcomes that they have witnessed. If you are curious about data sharing strategies or data collaboratives, then listen now to learn more!
Data pipelines are complicated and business critical pieces of technical infrastructure. Unfortunately they are also complex and difficult to test, leading to a significant amount of technical debt which contributes to slower iteration cycles. In this episode James Campbell describes how he helped create the Great Expectations framework to help you gain control and confidence in your data delivery workflows, the challenges of validating and monitoring the quality and accuracy of your data, and how you can use it in your own environments to improve your ability to move fast.
Building a reliable data platform is a neverending task. Even if you have a process that works for you and your business there can be unexpected events that require a change in your platform architecture. In this episode the head of data for Mayvenn shares their experience migrating an existing set of streaming workflows onto the Ascend platform after their previous vendor was acquired and changed their offering. This is an interesting discussion about the ongoing maintenance and decision making required to keep your business data up to date and accurate.
The modern era of software development is identified by ubiquitous access to elastic infrastructure for computation and easy automation of deployment. This has led to a class of applications that can quickly scale to serve users worldwide. This requires a new class of data storage which can accomodate that demand without having to rearchitect your system at each level of growth. YugabyteDB is an open source database designed to support planet scale workloads with high data density and full ACID compliance. In this episode Karthik Ranganathan explains how Yugabyte is architected, their motivations for being fully open source, and how they simplify the process of scaling your application from greenfield to global.
Databases are useful for inspecting the current state of your application, but inspecting the history of that data can get messy without a way to track changes as they happen. Debezium is an open source platform for reliable change data capture that you can use to build supplemental systems for everything from maintaining audit trails to real-time updates of your data warehouse. In this episode Gunnar Morling and Randall Hauch explain why it got started, how it works, and some of the myriad ways that you can use it. If you have ever struggled with implementing your own change data capture pipeline, or understanding when it would be useful then this episode is for you.
DataDog is one of the most successful companies in the space of metrics and monitoring for servers and cloud infrastructure. In order to support their customers, they need to capture, process, and analyze massive amounts of timeseries data with a high degree of uptime and reliability. Vadim Semenov works on their data engineering team and joins the podcast in this episode to discuss the challenges that he works through, the systems that DataDog has built to power their business, and how their teams are organized to allow for rapid growth and massive scale. Getting an inside look at the companies behind the services we use is always useful, and this conversation was no exception.
Transactional databases used in applications are optimized for fast reads and writes with relatively simple queries on a small number of records. Data warehouses are optimized for batched writes and complex analytical queries. Between those use cases there are varying levels of support for fast reads on quickly changing data. To address that need more completely the team at Materialize has created an engine that allows for building queryable views of your data as it is continually updated from the stream of changes being generated by your applications. In this episode Frank McSherry, chief scientist of Materialize, explains why it was created, what use cases it enables, and how it works to provide fast queries on continually updated data.
Building clean datasets with reliable and reproducible ingestion pipelines is completely useless if it's not possible to find them and understand their provenance. The solution to discoverability and tracking of data lineage is to incorporate a metadata repository into your data platform. The metadata repository serves as a data catalog and a means of reporting on the health and status of your datasets when it is properly integrated into the rest of your tools. At WeWork they needed a system that would provide visibility into their Airflow pipelines and the outputs produced. In this episode Julien Le Dem and Willy Lulciuc explain how they built Marquez to serve that need, how it is architected, and how it compares to other options that you might be considering. Even if you already have a metadata repository this is worth a listen to learn more about the value that visibility of your data can bring to your organization.
Data warehouses have gone through many transformations, from standard relational databases on powerful hardware, to column oriented storage engines, to the current generation of cloud-native analytical engines. SnowflakeDB has been leading the charge to take advantage of cloud services that simplify the separation of compute and storage. In this episode Kent Graziano, chief technical evangelist for SnowflakeDB, explains how it is differentiated from other managed platforms and traditional data warehouse engines, the features that allow you to scale your usage dynamically, and how it allows for a shift in your workflow from ETL to ELT. If you are evaluating your options for building or migrating a data platform, then this is definitely worth a listen.
The financial industry has long been driven by data, requiring a mature and robust capacity for discovering and integrating valuable sources of information. Citadel is no exception, and in this episode Michael Watson and Robert Krzyzanowski share their experiences managing and leading the data engineering teams that power the business. They shared helpful insights into some of the challenges associated with working in a regulated industry, organizing teams to deliver value rapidly and reliably, and how they approach career development for data engineers. This was a great conversation for an inside look at how to build and maintain a data driven culture.
The team at Sentry has built a platform for anyone in the world to send software errors and events. As they scaled the volume of customers and data they began running into the limitations of their initial architecture. To address the needs of their business and continue to improve their capabilities they settled on Clickhouse as the new storage and query layer to power their business. In this episode James Cunningham and Ted Kaemming describe the process of rearchitecting a production system, what they learned in the process, and some useful tips for anyone else evaluating Clickhouse.
With the constant evolution of technology for data management it can seem impossible to make an informed decision about whether to build a data warehouse, or a data lake, or just leave your data wherever it currently rests. What's worse is that any time you have to migrate to a new architecture, all of your analytical code has to change too. Thankfully it's possible to add an abstraction layer to eliminate the churn in your client code, allowing you to evolve your data platform without disrupting your downstream data users. In this episode AtScale co-founder and CTO Matthew Baird describes how the data virtualization and data engineering automation capabilities that are built into the platform free up your engineers to focus on your business needs without having to waste cycles on premature optimization. This was a great conversation about the power of abstractions and appreciating the value of increasing the efficiency of your data team.
The practice of data management is one that requires technical acumen, but there are also many policy and regulatory issues that inform and influence the design of our systems. With the introduction of legal frameworks such as the EU GDPR and California's CCPA it is necessary to consider how to implement data protectino and data privacy principles in the technical and policy controls that govern our data platforms. In this episode Karen Heaton and Mark Sherwood-Edwards share their experience and expertise in helping organizations achieve compliance. Even if you aren't subject to specific rules regarding data protection it is definitely worth listening to get an overview of what you should be thinking about while building and running data pipelines.
As data engineers the health of our pipelines is our highest priority. Unfortunately, there are countless ways that our dataflows can break or degrade that have nothing to do with the business logic or data transformations that we write and maintain. Sean Knapp founded Ascend to address the operational challenges of running a production grade and scalable Spark infrastructure, allowing data engineers to focus on the problems that power their business. In this episode he explains the technical implementation of the Ascend platform, the challenges that he has faced in the process, and how you can use it to simplify your dataflow automation. This is a great conversation to get an understanding of all of the incidental engineering that is necessary to make your data reliable.
Despite the fact that businesses have relied on useful and accurate data to succeed for decades now, the state of the art for obtaining and maintaining that information still leaves much to be desired. In an effort to create a better abstraction for building data applications Nick Schrock created Dagster. In this episode he explains his motivation for creating a product for data management, how the programming model simplifies the work of building testable and maintainable pipelines, and his vision for the future of data programming. If you are building dataflows then Dagster is definitely worth exploring.
The scale and complexity of the systems that we build to satisfy business requirements is increasing as the available tools become more sophisticated. In order to bridge the gap between legacy infrastructure and evolving use cases it is necessary to create a unifying set of components. In this episode Dipti Borkar explains how the emerging category of data orchestration tools fills this need, some of the existing projects that fit in this space, and some of the ways that they can work together to simplify projects such as cloud migration and hybrid cloud environments. It is always useful to get a broad view of new trends in the industry and this was a helpful perspective on the need to provide mechanisms to decouple physical storage from computing capacity.
Managing a data warehouse can be challenging, especially when trying to maintain a common set of patterns. Dataform is a platform that helps you apply engineering principles to your data transformations and table definitions, including unit testing SQL scripts, defining repeatable pipelines, and adding metadata to your warehouse to improve your team's communication. In this episode CTO and co-founder of Dataform Lewis Hemens joins the show to explain his motivation for creating the platform and company, how it works under the covers, and how you can start using it today to get your data warehouse under control.
The process of exposing your data through a SQL interface has many possible pathways, each with their own complications and tradeoffs. One of the recent options is Rockset, a serverless platform for fast SQL analytics on semi-structured and structured data. In this episode CEO Venkat Venkataramani and SVP of Product Shruti Bhat explain the origins of Rockset, how it is architected to allow for fast and flexible SQL analytics on your data, and how their serverless platform can save you the time and effort of implementing portions of your own infrastructure.
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Comments (1)

T L

It's very hard to follow your guest..

Sep 22nd
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