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.
187 Episodes
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There is a lot of attention on the database market and cloud data warehouses. While they provide a measure of convenience, they also require you to sacrifice a certain amount of control over your data. If you want to build a warehouse that gives you both control and flexibility then you might consider building on top of the venerable PostgreSQL project. In this episode Thomas Richter and Joshua Drake share their advice on how to build a production ready data warehouse with Postgres.
Building an API for real-time data is a challenging project. Making it robust, scalable, and fast is a full time job. The team at Tinybird wants to make it easy to turn a continuous stream of data into a production ready API or data product. In this episode CEO Jorge Sancha explains how they have architected their system to handle high data throughput and fast response times, and why they have invested heavily in Clickhouse as the core of their platform. This is a great conversation about the challenges of building a maintainable business from a technical and product perspective.
Spark is one of the most well-known frameworks for data processing, whether for batch or streaming, ETL or ML, and at any scale. Because of its popularity it has been deployed on every kind of platform you can think of. In this episode Jean-Yves Stephan shares the work that he is doing at Data Mechanics to make it sing on Kubernetes. He explains how operating in a cloud-native context simplifies some aspects of running the system while complicating others, how it simplifies the development and experimentation cycle, and how you can get a head start using their pre-built Spark container. This is a great conversation for understanding how new ways of operating systems can have broader impacts on how they are being used.
The Data industry is changing rapidly, and one of the most active areas of growth is automation of data workflows. Taking cues from the DevOps movement of the past decade data professionals are orienting around the concept of DataOps. More than just a collection of tools, there are a number of organizational and conceptual changes that a proper DataOps approach depends on. In this episode Kevin Stumpf, CTO of Tecton, Maxime Beauchemin, CEO of Preset, and Lior Gavish, CTO of Monte Carlo, discuss the grand vision and present realities of DataOps. They explain how to think about your data systems in a holistic and maintainable fashion, the security challenges that threaten to derail your efforts, and the power of using metadata as the foundation of everything that you do. If you are wondering how to get control of your data platforms and bring all of your stakeholders onto the same page then this conversation is for you.
The reason for collecting, cleaning, and organizing data is to make it usable by the organization. One of the most common and widely used methods of access is through a business intelligence dashboard. Superset is an open source option that has been gaining popularity due to its flexibility and extensible feature set. In this episode Maxime Beauchemin discusses how data engineers can use Superset to provide self service access to data and deliver analytics. He digs into how it integrates with your data stack, how you can extend it to fit your use case, and why open source systems are a good choice for your business intelligence. If you haven't already tried out Superset then this conversation is well worth your time. Give it a listen and then take it for a test drive today.
Most of the time when you think about a data pipeline or ETL job what comes to mind is a purely mechanistic progression of functions that move data from point A to point B. Sometimes, however, one of those transformations is actually a full-fledged machine learning project in its own right. In this episode Tal Galfsky explains how he and the team at Cherre tackled the problem of messy data for Addresses by building a natural language processing and entity resolution system that is served as an API to the rest of their pipelines. He discusses the myriad ways that addresses are incomplete, poorly formed, and just plain wrong, why it was a big enough pain point to invest in building an industrial strength solution for it, and how it actually works under the hood. After listening to this you'll look at your data pipelines in a new light and start to wonder how you can bring more advanced strategies into the cleaning and transformation process.
"Business as usual" is changing, with more companies investing in data as a first class concern. As a result, the data team is growing and introducing more specialized roles. In this episode Josh Benamram, CEO and co-founder of Databand, describes the motivations for these emerging roles, how these positions affect the team dynamics, and the types of visibility that they need into the data platform to do their jobs effectively. He also talks about how his experience working with these teams informs his work at Databand. If you are wondering how to apply your talents and interests to working with data then this episode is a must listen.
One of the biggest obstacles to success in delivering data products is cross-team collaboration. Part of the problem is the difference in the information that each role requires to do their job and where they expect to find it. This introduces a barrier to communication that is difficult to overcome, particularly in teams that have not reached a significant level of maturity in their data journey. In this episode Prukalpa Sankar shares her experiences across multiple attempts at building a system that brings everyone onto the same page, ultimately bringing her to found Atlan. She explains how the design of the platform is informed by the needs of managing data projects for large and small teams across her previous roles, how it integrates with your existing systems, and how it can work to bring everyone onto the same page.
Data quality is on the top of everyone's mind recently, but getting it right is as challenging as ever. One of the contributing factors is the number of people who are involved in the process and the potential impact on the business if something goes wrong. In this episode Maarten Masschelein and Tom Baeyens share the work they are doing at Soda to bring everyone on board to make your data clean and reliable. They explain how they started down the path of building a solution for managing data quality, their philosophy of how to empower data engineers with well engineered open source tools that integrate with the rest of the platform, and how to bring all of the stakeholders onto the same page to make your data great. There are many aspects of data quality management and it's always a treat to learn from people who are dedicating their time and energy to solving it for everyone.
The world of business is becoming increasingly dependent on information that is accurate up to the minute. For analytical systems, the only way to provide this reliably is by implementing change data capture (CDC). Unfortunately, this is a non-trivial undertaking, particularly for teams that don't have extensive experience working with streaming data and complex distributed systems. In this episode Raghu Murthy, founder and CEO of Datacoral, does a deep dive on how he and his team manage change data capture pipelines in production.
The team at DoorDash has a complex set of optimization challenges to deal with using data that they collect from a multi-sided marketplace. In order to handle the volume and variety of information that they use to run and improve the business the data team has to build a platform that analysts and data scientists can use in a self-service manner. In this episode the head of data platform for DoorDash, Sudhir Tonse, discusses the technologies that they are using, the approach that they take to adding new systems, and how they think about priorities for what to support for the whole company vs what to leave as a specialized concern for a single team. This is a valuable look at how to manage a large and growing data platform with that supports a variety of teams with varied and evolving needs.
A majority of the time spent in data engineering is copying data between systems to make the information available for different purposes. This introduces challenges such as keeping information synchronized, managing schema evolution, building transformations to match the expectations of the destination systems. H.O. Maycotte was faced with these same challenges but at a massive scale, leading him to question if there is a better way. After tasking some of his top engineers to consider the problem in a new light they created the Pilosa engine. In this episode H.O. explains how using Pilosa as the core he built the Molecula platform to eliminate the need to copy data between systems in able to make it accessible for analytical and machine learning purposes. He also discusses the challenges that he faces in helping potential users and customers understand the shift in thinking that this creates, and how the system is architected to make it possible. This is a fascinating conversation about what the future looks like when you revisit your assumptions about how systems are designed.
The process of building and deploying machine learning projects requires a staggering number of systems and stakeholders to work in concert. In this episode Yaron Haviv, co-founder of Iguazio, discusses the complexities inherent to the process, as well as how he has worked to democratize the technologies necessary to make machine learning operations maintainable.
Data integration is a critical piece of every data pipeline, yet it is still far from being a solved problem. There are a number of managed platforms available, but the list of options for an open source system that supports a large variety of sources and destinations is still embarrasingly short. The team at Airbyte is adding a new entry to that list with the goal of making robust and easy to use data integration more accessible to teams who want or need to maintain full control of their data. In this episode co-founders John Lafleur and Michel Tricot share the story of how and why they created Airbyte, discuss the project's design and architecture, and explain their vision of what an open soure data integration platform should offer. If you are struggling to maintain your extract and load pipelines or spending time on integrating with a new system when you would prefer to be working on other projects then this is definitely a conversation worth listening to.
Every business aims to be data driven, but not all of them succeed in that effort. In order to be able to truly derive insights from the data that an organization collects, there are certain foundational capabilities that they need to have capacity for. In order to help more businesses build those foundations, Tarush Aggarwal created 5xData, offering collaborative workshops to assist in setting up the technical and organizational systems that are necessary to succeed. In this episode he shares his thoughts on the core elements that are necessary for every business to be data driven, how he is helping companies incorporate those capabilities into their structure, and the ongoing support that he is providing through a network of mastermind groups. This is a great conversation about the initial steps that every group should be thinking of as they start down the road to making data informed decisions.
With all of the tools and services available for building a data platform it can be difficult to separate the signal from the noise. One of the best ways to get a true understanding of how a technology works in practice is to hear from people who are running it in production. In this episode Zeeshan Qureshi and Michelle Ark share their experiences using DBT to manage the data warehouse for Shopify. They explain how the structured the project to allow for multiple teams to collaborate in a scalable manner, the additional tooling that they added to address the edge cases that they have run into, and the optimizations that they baked into their continuous integration process to provide fast feedback and reduce costs. This is a great conversation about the lessons learned from real world use of a specific technology and how well it lives up to its promises.
Collecting and processing metrics for monitoring use cases is an interesting data problem. It is eminently possible to generate millions or billions of data points per second, the information needs to be propagated to a central location, processed, and analyzed in timeframes on the order of milliseconds or single-digit seconds, and the consumers of the data need to be able to query the information quickly and flexibly. As the systems that we build continue to grow in scale and complexity the need for reliable and manageable monitoring platforms increases proportionately. In this episode Rob Skillington, CTO of Chronosphere, shares his experiences building metrics systems that provide observability to companies that are operating at extreme scale. He describes how the M3DB storage engine is designed to manage the pressures of a critical system component, the inherent complexities of working with telemetry data, and the motivating factors that are contributing to the growing need for flexibility in querying the collected metrics. This is a fascinating conversation about an area of data management that is often taken for granted.
Businesses often need to be able to ingest data from their customers in order to power the services that they provide. For each new source that they need to integrate with it is another custom set of ETL tasks that they need to maintain. In order to reduce the friction involved in supporting new data transformations David Molot and Hassan Syyid built the Hotlue platform. In this episode they describe the data integration challenges facing many B2B companies, how their work on the Hotglue platform simplifies their efforts, and how they have designed the platform to make these ETL workloads embeddable and self service for end users.
The data warehouse has become the central component of the modern data stack. Building on this pattern, the team at Hightouch have created a platform that synchronizes information about your customers out to third party systems for use by marketing and sales teams. In this episode Tejas Manohar explains the benefits of sourcing customer data from one location for all of your organization to use, the technical challenges of synchronizing the data to external systems with varying APIs, and the workflow for enabling self-service access to your customer data by your marketing teams. This is an interesting conversation about the importance of the data warehouse and how it can be used beyond just internal analytics.
As data professionals we have a number of tools available for storing, processing, and analyzing data. We also have tools for collaborating on software and analysis, but collaborating on data is still an underserved capability. Gavin Mendel-Gleason encountered this problem first hand while working on the Sesshat databank, leading him to create TerminusDB and TerminusHub. In this episode he explains how the TerminusDB system is architected to provide a versioned graph storage engine that allows for branching and merging of data sets, how that opens up new possibilities for individuals and teams to work together on building new data repositories. This is a fascinating conversation on the technical challenges involved, the opportunities that such as system provides, and the complexities inherent to building a successful business on open source.
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Comments (2)

Albert Bikeev

"Java is more readable and maintainable than Scala..." that's a good joke :)

Mar 7th
Reply

T L

It's very hard to follow your guest..

Sep 22nd
Reply
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