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My "Star-Studded" Evening at the 2015 Cloudera Data Impact Awards

Kamran Khan
Kamran Khan
Managing Director

I was in New York City a couple of weeks ago to attend the 2015 Cloudera Data Impact Awards ceremony together with Clifford Barnes, Group VP at Adecco. 

Clifford and I walked into the awards dinner and asked a gentleman at the first table we spotted, “Is there a seating assignment?” He replied “No, in fact, you can sit right here at this table!”

It turned out the gentleman was Tom Reilly, CEO at Cloudera. So we started off the evening with a nice conversation with Tom and the VP of Cloudera Field Services, Paul Bedhun, who was also at the table with us.

The ceremony went on to honor the Data Impact Awards’ winners and finalists, including Adecco in the Business Impact category ( was the category winner). In case you’re curious, here’s the impressive list of this year’s Cloudera Data Impact Awards winners. Among them was Thorn, a nonprofit dedicated to driving technology innovation to fight child trafficking in the U.S. Within a year since its launch, Thorn's analytics system has helped identify over 300 victims, including 50 children. Bestowed upon their work was a standing ovation for an achievement so admirable, so humbling; it reminded us all that technology goes far beyond the enterprise to make life-changing social impacts. 

As the evening continued with Clifford and I meeting great people and having interesting conversations, we finally had a chance to meet Doug Cutting, Cloudera’s Chief Architect (pictured with Clifford on the right).

I mentioned to Doug that, having worked with various search and big data technologies in the last decade, we firmly believe that search is inextricably linked with big data. People who know me would have heard me say so every time this topic comes up.  

And so I was very interested in Doug’s point of view on this, given that he launched Lucene and Hadoop, both of which are foundations of search and big data technologies. Here’s pretty much exactly what he said:

“You know, people today think that search and big data are separate technologies for different purposes, but in two or three years, everyone will wonder why we ever thought that.” 

“Absolutely, yes!” was his response when I asked if I could quote him. And if you’ve ever wondered how the names Lucene and Hadoop came to life – Hadoop is the name of Doug’s son’s toy elephant, and he now revealed that Lucene is his wife’s middle name! 

We went on to discuss how search has democratized access to Hadoop and big data to enable powerful analytics. In other words, big data architectures fit for large, complex search and analytics applications and how the search-based interface remains a globally accepted user interface. I mean, everybody knows how to search right? 

The next day I went to the Strata+Hadoop World conference. As I toured the hall, I got to meet with a lot of big data enthusiasts, from exhibitors and attendees. Among them were Eva Andreasson, Product Manager for Cloudera Search, and Melinda Amoratis, Cloudera's ‎Director of Strategic Alliances. Melinda introduced me to the Microsoft Azure folks there, and I was excited to learn that Adecco was one of the early adopters of Cloudera in a production application on Azure. While still in its early days, I believe Azure will emerge as a key player of cloud infrastructure for search and big data.

From Cloudera Data Impact Awards to Strata+Hadoop, I came away thinking that our approach to using search to solve big data problems is well-aligned with the industry’s future - I believe the use cases will continue to expand to reflect that. This is all very exciting stuff, and we’re actually a part of this next-generation of analytics made easy. 

-- Kamran