Tom Petrocelli Releases Groundbreaking Technical Guide on Service Mesh

On April 2, 2019, Amalgam Insights Research Fellow Tom Petrocelli published Technical Guide: A Service Mesh Primer, which serves as a vital starting point for technical architects and developer teams to understand the current trends in microservices and service mesh. This report provides enterprise architects, CTOs, and developer teams with the guidance they need to understand the microservices architecture, service mesh architecture, and OSI model context necessary to conceptualize service mesh technologies.

In this report, Amalgam Insights provides context in the following areas: Continue reading “Tom Petrocelli Releases Groundbreaking Technical Guide on Service Mesh”

Big Changes in the Cloud Data Migration Market: Attunity and Alooma Get Acquired

Mid-February (Feb. 17 – 23) was a hot week for data and cloud migration companies with two big acquisitions. Google announced on Tuesday, Feb. 19 the acquisition of Alooma to assist with cloud data migration issues. This acquisition aligns well with the 2018 acquisition of Velostrata to support cloud workload migration. This acquisition reflects Google’s continued…

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Amazon Expands Toolkit of Machine Learning Services at AWS re:Invent

At AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services expanded its toolkit of machine learning application services with the announcements of Amazon Comprehend Medical, Amazon Forecast, Amazon Personalize, and Amazon Textract. These new services augment the capabilities Amazon provides to end users when it comes to text analysis, personalized recommendations, and time series forecasts. The continued growth of these individual services removes obstacles for companies looking to get started with common machine learning tasks on a smaller scale; rather than building a wholesale data science pipeline in-house, these services allow companies to quickly get one task done, and this permits an incremental introduction to machine learning for a given organization. Forecast, Personalize, and Textract are in preview, while Comprehend Medical is available now.

Amazon Comprehend Medical, Forecast, Personalize, and Textract join a collection of machine learning services that include speech recognition (Transcribe) and translation (Translate), speech-to-text and text-to-speech (Lex and Polly) to power machine conversation such as chatbots and Alexa, general text analytics (Comprehend), and image and video analysis (Rekognition).

New Capabilities

Amazon Personalize lets developers add personalized recommendations into their apps, based on a given activity stream from that app and a corpus of what’s available to be recommended, whether that’s products, articles, or other things. In addition to recommendations, Personalize can also be used to customize search results and notifications. By combining a given search string or location with contextual behavior data, Amazon looks to provide customers with the ability to build trust.

Amazon Forecast builds private, custom time-series forecast models that predict future trends based on that data. Customers provide both histoical data and related causal data, and Forecast analyzes the data to determine the relevant factors in building its models and providing forecasts.

Amazon Textract extracts text and data from scanned documents, without requiring manual data entry or custom code. In particular, using machine learning to recognize when data is in a table or form field and treat it appropriately will save a significant amount of time over the current OCR standard.

Finally, Amazon Comprehend Medical, an extension of last year’s Amazon Comprehend, uses natural language processing to analyze unstructured medical text such as doctor’s notes or clinical trial records, and extract relevant information from this text.

Recommendations

Organizations doing resource planning, financial planning, or other similar forecasting that currently lack the capability to do time series forecasting in-house should consider using Amazon Forecast to predict product demand, staffing levels, inventory levels, material availability, and to perform financial forecasting. Outsourcing the need to build complex forecasting models in-house lets departments focus on the predictions.

Consumer-oriented organizations looking to build higher levels of engagement with their customers who provide generic, uncontextualized recommendations right now (based on popularity or other simple measures) should consider using Amazon Personalize to provide personalized recommendations, search results, and notifications via their apps and website. Providing high-quality relevant recommendations a la minute builds customer trust in the quality of a given organization’s engagement efforts, particularly compared to the average spray-and-pray marketing communication.

Organizations that still depend on physical documents, or who have an archive of physical documents to scan and analyze, should consider using Amazon Textract. OCR’s limits are well-known, especially when it comes to accurately interpreting and formatting semi-structured blocks of text data such as form fields and tables, resulting in significant time devoted to post-processing manual correction. Textract handles complex documents without the need for custom code or maintaining templates; being able to automate text interpretation and analysis further accelerates document processing workflows, and better permits organizations to maintain compliance.

Medical organizations using software that depends on manually-implemented rules to process their medical text should consider using Amazon Comprehend Medical. By removing the need to maintain a list of rules in-house, Comprehend Medical accelerates the ability to extract and analyze medical information from unstructured text fields like doctor’s notes and health records, improving processes such as medical coding, cohort analysis to recruit patients for clinical trials, and health monitoring of patients.

All organizations looking to use machine learning services from external providers need to consider whether outsourcing will work for their circumstances. Data privacy is a key concern, and even more so in regulated verticals with industry-specific rules such as HIPAA. Does the service you want to use respect those rules? From a compliance perspective, why a model gives the results it does needs to be explained as well; merely accepting results from the black box at face value is insufficient. Machine learning products that automatically provide such an explanation in plain English do exist, but this feature is still uncommon and in its infancy.

Conclusion

With its latest announcements, Amazon continues to broaden the scope of customer issues it addresses with machine learning services. Medical companies need better text analytics yesterday, but struggle to comply with HIPAA while assessing the data they have. Customer-facing organizations face stiff competition when their competitor is only a click away. And any company trying to plan for the future based on past data grapples with understanding what factors affect future results. Amazon’s machine learning application services address common tactical business issues by simplifying the process for customers of implementing task-specific machine learning models to pure inputs and outputs. These services present outsourcing opportunities for overworked departments struggling to keep up.

Data Science and Machine Learning News, November 2018

On a monthly basis, I will be rounding up key news associated with the Data Science Platforms space for Amalgam Insights. Companies covered will include: Alteryx, Amazon, Anaconda, Cambridge Semantics, Cloudera, Databricks, Dataiku, DataRobot, Datawatch, DominoElastic, H2O.ai, IBM, Immuta, Informatica, KNIME, MathWorks, Microsoft, Oracle, Paxata, RapidMiner, SAP, SAS, SnapLogic, Tableau, Talend, Teradata, TIBCO, Trifacta, TROVE.

Continue reading “Data Science and Machine Learning News, November 2018”

Amalgam’s 5 Tiers of Technology Value


In Amalgam’s recent Analyst Insight, “Domo Hajimemashite At Domopalooza 2018, Domo Solves Its Case of Mistaken Identity”, Amalgam introduced a figure showing the 5 Tiers of Technology Value. This pyramid, based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, demonstrates how technology provides value that can be documented, calculated, and used to build business cases.

5 Tiers of Technology Value

Amalgam 5 Tiers Of Technology Value
Amalgam 5 Tiers Of Technology Value

To better understand these five tiers, Amalgam provides this guidance to companies seeking a better understanding of how IT investments are justified, as well as the pros and cons associated with each tier.

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Data and Analytic Strategies for Developing Ethical IT: a BrightTALK webinar

BI to AI on Trusted Data - An Amalgam Insights Research Theme
BI to AI on Trusted Data – An Amalgam Insights Research Theme

Recommended Audience: CIOs, Enterprise Architects, Data Managers, Analytics Managers, Data Scientists, IT Managers

Vendors Mentioned: Trifacta, Paxata, Datameer, Datawatch, Lavastorm, Alation, Tamr, Unifi, 1010Data, Podium Data, IBM, Domo, Microsoft, Information Builders, Board, Microstrategy, Cloudera, H20.ai, RapidMiner, Domino Data Lab, Dataiku, TIBCO, SAS, Amazon Web Services, Google, DataRobot.

In case you missed it, I just finished up my webinar on Data and Analytic Strategies for Developing Ethical IT. We are headed into a new algorithmic, statistical, and heterogenous data-defined model of IT where IT ethics and relevance are being challenged. In this webinar, we discussed:

  • Why IT is broken from a support and business perspective
  • The aspects of IT that can be fixed
  • What we can do as IT managers to fix IT
  • Data Prep, Data Unification, Business Intelligence, Data Science, and Machine Learning vendors that can help unlock the Black Boxes and Opt-Out disasters in IT
  • Key Recommendations

This webinar provides context to my ongoing research tracks of “BI to AI on Shared Data” and “IT Management at Scale.” To attend the webinar, please check the embedded view below or click to watch on BrightTALK


Hyoun Park Discusses Cloud Pricing on CIO.com

Money Bubbles in the Clouds

On CIO.com, analyst Hyoun Park discusses recent cloud pricing changes by Oracle, Amazon, and Google in context of understanding who is actually providing the cheapest cloud. In this blog, Park posits that Oracle’s new Universal Credits for IaaS and PaaS usage are fundamentally different from the traditional pricing models for cloud and shows that the enterprise cloud is coming of age.

One of Park’s assertions is that the most granular pricing may not be the cheapest because the complexity of detailed pricing prevents companies from optimizing their costs. Will this trend affect your cloud costs?

To learn more, click through to CIO.com and read this article: “Is the cheapest cloud pricing flexible or granular?”

Also, join Hyoun’s webinar to learn more about managing cloud costs on BrightTALK: Cloud Service Management: Managing Cost, Resources, and Security

Amazon SageMaker: A Key to Accelerating Enterprise Machine Learning Adoption

On November 29th, Amazon Web Services announced SageMaker, a managed machine language service that manages the authoring, model training, and hosting of algorithms and frameworks. These capabilities can be used by themselves, or as an end-to-end production pipeline.

SageMaker is currently available with a Free tier providing 250 hours of t2.medium notebook usage, 50 hours of m4.xlarge training usage, and 125 hours of m4.xlarge hosting usage for hosting for two months. After two months or for additional hours, the service is billed per instance, storage GB, and data transfer GB.

Amalgam Insights anticipates watching the adoption of SageMaker as it solves several basic problems in machine learning.

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Amazon Aurora Serverless vs. Oracle Autonomous Database: A Microcosm for The Future of IT

On November 29th, Amazon Web Services announced a variety of interesting database announcements at Amazon re:invent. Amazon Neptune, DynamoDB enhancements, and Aurora Serverless. Amalgam found both Neptune and DynamoDB announcements to be valuable but believes Aurora Serverless was the most interesting of these events both in its direct competition with Oracle and its personification of…

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AI Vendor Profile: Cloudyn, Cloud Cost Management

From Pixabay
From Pixabay
From Pixabay

Yesterday, at the Boston Cloud Services Meetup at the Cambridge IBM Innovation Center, Amalgam Insights (AI) attended a Cloudyn-based event on “Overcoming the Challenges of Multi-Cloud Financial Management.” This presentation was headed by Account Executive Marcus Benson and focused on the challenges that Fortune 500 companies and managed service providers have in managing both complex single-vendor and multi-vendor cloud infrastructure environments.

Cloudyn is a cloud business and financial management solution founded in 2011 and set up as both a multi-tenant and multi-cloud solution running on AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Cloudyn supports a single pane of glass view for consolidated management and a real-time and continuous support of cost optimization for multiple vendors including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, OpenStack, and Docker. Cloudyn has raised over $20 million in venture capital and seed funding and currently targets large enterprises, managed service providers, and companies with over 1 million dollars in annual cloud spend.

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