7 minute read · August 6, 2020

Subsurface Summer 2020 Makes a Splash and Dives Deep into the Cloud Data Lake

Jacques Nadeau

Jacques Nadeau · Co-founder and CTO, Dremio

Last Thursday Dremio hosted Subsurface Summer 2020, the industry’s first and only cloud data lake conference — and we did it all LIVE (and virtually, of course)! As a community we dove deep below the surface of the data lake (hence the name) to explore the technologies and the best practices to build world-class cloud data lakes.

And what a community it was! We had over 5000 people registered and over 2500 attending the show from all over the world, from startups to the largest global enterprises, with a diverse set of interests.

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The event received coverage from industry analysts and press including these articles from TechTarget and Insights from Analytics. It’s clear there is a huge demand in the market for information and best practices around building world-class cloud data lakes, and we’re excited to be part of making that happen.

Diving Deep with Data Lake Experts

Of course the real magic of Subsurface was the incredible lineup of speakers covering a wide range of cloud data lake topics from open source technology innovations to real-world deployments and lessons learned.

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Check out the thought-provoking keynotes:

  • The Future Is Open - The Rise of the Cloud Data Lake (Tomer Shiran, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Dremio). You can also read Tomer’s blog post on data warehouse lock-in and lock-out.
  • The Future of Intelligent Storage in Big Data (Daniel Weeks, Big Data Compute Team Lead, Netflix)
  • Five Data Trends You Should Know (Tomasz Tunguz, Managing Director, Redpoint Ventures). Tomasz wrote up his session in a great blog post here.
  • The Way Forward (Billy Bosworth, CEO, Dremio)

Then, dive deep into these technical sessions:

  • Apache Arrow: A New Gold Standard for Dataset Transport (Wes McKinney, Director, Ursa Labs)
  • Hiveberg: Integrating Apache Iceberg with the Hive Metastore (Adrian Woodhead, Principal Data Engineer, Expedia and Christine Mathiesen, Software Engineer, Expedia)
  • Building an Efficient Data Pipeline for Data-Intensive Workloads(Ryan Murray, OSS Engineer, Dremio). You can also check out Ryan’s blog on the GA of Arrow 1.0.
  • How to Build an IoT Data Lake (Tim Doernemann, Senior Lead Software Engineer, Software AG and Michael Cammert, Senior Manager, Software AG)
  • Reducing Time to Market with S7 Airlines Self-Service Data Platform (Areg Azaryan, Enterprise Data Platform Product Owner, S7 Airlines)
  • Functional Data Engineering - A Set of Best Practices (Maxime Beauchemin, CEO and Founder, Preset)
  • Lessons Learned from Operating an Exabyte-scale Data Lake at Microsoft(Raji Easwaran, Group Program Manager, Azure Data Lake Storage)
  • Lessons Learned From Running Apache Iceberg at Petabyte Scale (Anton Okolnychyi, Apache Iceberg PMC Member and Apache Spark Contributor)
  • Data Lineage and Observability with Marquez (Julien Le Dem, Co-founder and CTO, Datakin)
  • Smart Data Lakes for Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics – Telenav’s Journey (Kumar Maddali, VP of Search, Data Science and Big Data Platforms, Telenav)
  • AWS Data Lake Architectures (Raghu Prabhu, Global Manager, Data Lakes, Big Data and Analytics, AWS)
  • Extracting Value from Data Assets (Yannis Katsanos, Head of Customer Data Science, Exelon Utilities)

I’d like to personally thank our speakers for coming to Subsurface and engaging with the community. The event was an incredible success because of you — thank you!

The Subsurface LIVE Experience

We also worked hard to wrap all the great content in an engaging experience. First and foremost, that meant doing everything LIVE. This was a bit of a gamble but it really paid off. There’s just nothing like the excitement that comes from live events, where anything can happen (and often does!) The live Q&A portion of each session also felt very similar to an in-person event, as we were able to queue up questions and bring attendees (with their audio/video) right into the “room” with the presenters. Check out an example from Julien Le Dem’s session:

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After each session the speakers and attendees could head over to our dedicated Subsurface Slack instance where they continued the discussion. And those conversations are still happening right now - so head on over and be a part of them! This is really the point of Subsurface as we are creating a dynamic, growing community that exists outside of point-in-time events. Here’s a snippet of feedback from attendees during the event:

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The keynotes and technical sessions had a ton of interesting content, but there were plenty of other ways for attendees to learn. There was a dedicated Networking area where attendees could pair up for 1:1 video conversations, and a lively Expo Hall where the event sponsors staffed virtual booths to take questions, give live demos, and even jump into 1:1 live video discussions. This experience was really engaging for attendees and in many ways felt similar to a physical event. And there was a LOT of traffic — at one point the Dremio booth had 127 attendees! Going virtual definitely has advantages, as this would not have been possible at a physical event.

Speaking of the Expo Hall, I’d like to thank our sponsors for their support of Subsurface, as they helped make the event a success. Here they are:

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After the closing keynotes it was time to have some fun. In keeping with our Subsurface goals for a high-quality attendee experience we wanted something LIVE, interactive, and engaging. What does that translate into for a virtual after party? A live DJ Battle of course!

We partnered with Uber Battles to have three live DJs each spinning their own mixes and competing to win a $1000 prize. All of the attendees were able to vote on our favorite DJ every 10 seconds, and even chat with them (when they had a free hand or two). It was a lot of fun and some great music. In the end it came down to a two horse race with DJ Ceegoods squeaking out the win. Congrats and thanks for the tunes!

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Let’s Do This Again Soon

We couldn’t be happier with how Subsurface Summer 2020 turned out, especially given this was an inaugural event happening during uncertain COVID times. And now that we’ve done it, we can’t wait to host it again this Winter. And next time we’re going twice as big with a 2-day innovation packed agenda, so mark your calendars for January 27-28, 2021.

In the meantime stay tuned as we’ll be creating smaller Subsurface meetup-style virtual events and workshops. If you’re interested in being a speaker, definitely reach out. We’re always looking for interesting topics.

If you missed any of the sessions or just want to watch them again, head over now to register for Subsurface On Demand.

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