Anant Corporation Blog

Our research, knowledge, thoughts, and recommendations about building and leading businesses on the Internet.

Category Archives: Events


DC Data Wranglers: It’s a Balloon! A Blimp! No, a Dirigible! Apache Zeppelin: Query Solr via Spark

I had the pleasure this past Wednesday of introducing Eric Pugh (@dep4b) to the Data Wranglers DC Meetup group. He spoke about using Solr and Zeppelin in data processing and; specifically, the ways big data can easily be processed and displayed as visualizations in Zeppelin. Also broached was Docker, an application Anant uses, and its role in setting up environments for data processing and analysis. Unfortunately, no actual blimps or zeppelins were seen during the talk, but the application of data analysis to events they usually fly over was presented on last month during a discussion about Spark, Kafka, and the English Premier League.

 

Instead of trying to completely rehash Eric’s presentation, please check out his material for yourself (available below). In short, he showed how multiple open-source tools can be used to process, import, manipulate, visualize, and share your information. More specifically, Spark is a fast data processing engine which you can use to prepare your data for presentation and analysis. Whereas, Zeppelin is a mature, enterprise-ready application; as shown by its recent graduation from Apache’s Incubator Program; and is a great tool to manipulate and visualize processed data.

 

 

 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or if you are interested in participating or speaking at a future Data Wranglers DC event. Each event is recorded, livestreamed on the Data Community DC Facebook page and attended by 50 or more individuals interested in data wrangling, data processing, and possible outcomes from these efforts. After the monthly event, many members continue their discussions at a local restaurant or bar.

 

I hope to see you at an event in the near future!

containers

Q: Why Docker? Why December 17?

A: To make it easy to package and ship code.

 

Docker can be your assembly line for software production. If you’re building software with complex architecture, using software like Docker can significantly reduce the time for software development, testing, and deployment through the use of “containers”. For the client, this approach can significantly reduce software development costs, accelerate delivery cycles and launch times of ideas, and potentially decrease coding errors that hinder your services and hurt the bottom line. Docker is used by thousands of companies as part of their DevOps processes and its adoption is expected to continue to grow. Here are a few examples: Red Hat, Rackspace, Spotify, and more!

 

One of Docker’s great attributes is its ‘malleability.’ You can rapidly build things and tear them down if needed, enabling you to nimbly adapt when an urgent application deployment arises. Docker’s greatest utility is in situations where a client or project needs to quickly stand up a developing and testing environment, an application, and all the associated dependencies. We plan to show how we are using Docker internally and externally to service both our clients’ and our needs.

 

To a technologist, the beneficial aspects of Docker are clear; however, there are other benefits that accrue to the end user as well. First, the end user more than likely will not need to modify their hardware and software setup to accommodate Docker assembled applications. Applications will not force the user to restart the whole application or worry about ‘fluff’ filling their servers. Finally, the isolation feature inherent with Docker containers walls off the application while also reducing the draw on computing power providing some additional security advantages and better overall performance of computing platforms.

 

The workshop on 12/17 will focus on the technical side of using Docker. We will present Docker basics for both Linux and Windows, as well as doing a review of Docker Compose and other Docker tools. While we want everyone to know and share about how to use these features, we hope you can explain why Docker is being adopted and how end users also benefit.

 

You can sign up here and contact us at solutions@anant.us if you have any questions!

Webinar 2: How to Connect Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Software, software, software everywhere – and applications! Let’s face it, you probably couldn’t run your company without them. At Anant, we help clients connect their different pieces of software, apps and hardware to help make workflows more productive and more efficient. Next week, as part of our four part webinar series, CEO Rahul Singh will present on Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) to help you understand how these connections can be executed and why they are important to your business operations.

 

Even though the term “Enterprise Application Integration” itself seems daunting it is something you will be able to do (or want to do) to unlock opportunities for your company and yourself. Previously, monolithic applications, such as complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, attempted to create large frameworks of applications that would give you an all-in-one solution to your application integration needs. One of the main obstacles with systems such as these is they are largely inflexible. In a business environment where processes, amongst other things, are often prone to change, it is not sustainable to use applications which are inherently rigid.

 

With the advancement of Application Program Interface (API) technology, there is now a plethora of different application integration opportunities. Using APIs, companies have a much more feasible way to get applications to talk with each other, or with a central data warehouse (essentially, a repository for data from operational systems such as marketing, sales, etc.). Most of your common internet applications; such as Google Apps, Salesforce, WordPress, and Jira;  have APIs which can be programmed to suit your needs. However, there are pitfalls you need to avoid when connecting your applications together as well as important best practices to follow.

 

During the webinar Rahul will address benefits, pitfalls, and best practices while walking through the different options currently available for integrations.  Sign up is now open for the Friday, September 16, webinar! We’ll start at 10am and finish about an hour later. This webinar will be a 20-25 minute presentation and demonstration followed by an open-forum discussion around the topic of connecting online business software. We hope to see you there!

 

 


Come see us present in person at one of our upcoming events. If you’re in the DC area next week, Rahul will be moderating the monthly Data Wranglers DC event on Wednesday, September 14, where the presenter will speak about using Spark and Accumulo. You can sign up here.

Strategy Breakfast – Sweet Spot for Big Data

It was great to get together with Big Data enthusiasts last week at the Metro Offices co-working space. If you attended, please send a thank you to Robert Katz (@Robert_Katz) for opening it up. The conversation was an open forum discussion among professionals with backgrounds in digital marketing, law, and finance. There was general agreement that companies need to use data to make decisions; however, participants noted basic impediments such as understanding or identifying the underlying importance of a data point or metric, separating correlation from causation, and wading through unknown-unknowns.

 

Analytics

What was generally agreed on is there is value hidden within the information being collected and it is necessary to understand how to access and apply that data to help ourselves and clients stay ahead of the competition. At a basic level, spreadsheets and tools such as Google Analytics provide information about what is happening, but it is important to also understand why numbers are changing and if they are changing in an anticipated manner that indicate a stronger company going forward. This latter point touches on measuring the effects of actions taken by a company, primarily through marketing, and the ultimate return on investment of those actions, whether intended or unintended. The final point, exploring the ‘unknown-unknowns’, or ‘what is possible’, is what seemed to capture the greatest attention of many in the room. Never has there been the opportunity to compare and analyze so many data points and it is sometimes overwhelming to do so or even arduous as information is siloed in separate databases – a challenge Anant is helping businesses overcome.  

 

Big Data is a big topic and this group conversation will continue at the monthly breakfasts through the end of the year. While the focus for the next breakfast on September 30 has yet to be set, it will most likely delve into both successful and unsuccessful use cases of big data for data-driven decisions in a business environment. Please do not hesitate to contact us with other topic suggestions for either September or subsequent breakfasts. In the interim, you can sign up for the 30th or join us for a webinar on connecting online business software on September 16. We look forward to seeing you again or meeting and talking with you at one of our upcoming events.

Webinar 1 Recap: Building Online Business Software 101 (B2B)

Last week saw the kickoff of Anant’s webinar series focused on helping you maximize business intelligence insights hidden or locked away in your software and business information. We enjoyed hearing about the attendees’ goals and look forward to helping them be successful without worrying about how to manipulate all those pesky 1’s and 0’s. CEO Rahul Singh demonstrated the features of some common cloud business software technologies (commonly referred to as SaaS applications or “Software as a Service”), provided insights, and addressed guests’ questions.

At a high level, we showed everyone how to get information from one SaaS application to another without the need for a software engineering degree. For example, through Zoho we tackled the challenge of building a personalized interface for data collection. With the Zoho Platform you can build small business applications using Zoho Creator. Additionally, you can use Zoho Forms to construct easy to use and modify forms. Going further with these two applications you can use a tool such as Skyvia to synchronize your data between Zoho and a central database. Once implemented you are able to apply business analytics tools to that database to gather analytics from Zoho. Some of the analytics tools that our clients have found value in are Metabase and Kibana as they worked to improve their operational efficiency and more deeply understand their stakeholders needs and actions.

 

For those of you with the time to review the slides or watch the webinar take a look below!

 

 

The next one-hour webinar, focused on how to connect your online software applications together and integrate the resulting data for deeper business analysis and insights, takes place Friday, September 16, at 10am EDT. If you can’t wait until then to meet us or ask a question, join us tomorrow for breakfast or send us a question. Follow along as we continue to empower business users to create things without programming. 

What are some tools your business uses when building software or applications? What tools have played a role in improving your building process? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.