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Expert Interview (Part 3): Mike Olson on Diversity in Tech, Cloudera Altus and Director

At the Cloudera Sessions event in Munich, Germany, Paige Roberts of Syncsort sat down with Mike Olson, Chief Strategy Officer of Cloudera. In the first part of the interview, Mike Olson went into what’s new at Cloudera, how machine learning is evolving, and the adoption of the Cloud in organizations.

In part two, they discussed Gartner’s latest hype cycle, and where Mike Olsen sees Hadoop going. In this part, Mike Olson shares his views on women in tech and the difference between Cloudera Altus and Director.

Paige:   I was just talking with some other folks about the fact that I’m one of the few women in this room.

Mike:    <looks around> Mm-hm.

One of the things I have noticed at the Strata Conferences, and at Cloudera Conferences in general is that the speakers and the presenters, and even the percentage of attendees that are women has gone up over the years. Here, Katharine Jarmul did a great keynote on GDPR. At the last Strata, the Women in Big Data lunch was packed. I wondered, what are you doing at Cloudera that’s helping? Because you must have some sort of internal culture, or some kind of change that’s making that work. It doesn’t just happen in this industry.

I really appreciate you noticing that. We worry about it a bunch. The ground observation is we want the brightest people with the most creative ideas in the world working with us, and for us, to create these platforms for the future. And if we’re not effective at recruiting 50% of the population of the planet, there’s just a lot of outstanding brains that we’re not getting access to. And shame on us if that’s true. So, we’ve been running very thoughtful diversity and inclusion recruiting, and better sourcing, and recognizing unconscious bias, and trying to run better hiring processes. I think that’s paid off.

But also, we’re actively looking for great content from women speakers. The more of that we can highlight, we think the more that we’ll attract, and we’re soliciting and searching. So, if one of our people has a great idea, I would like to give great Cloudera engineers a little bit of time to go prepare that talk. Maybe just a little bit of a break from the daily coding grind, the daily data science grind, to prepare these presentations that are then visible, and attract more folks.

I think it’s working.

Yeah, with respect to gender, with respect to sexual identity, with respect to race and everything else, we can still do a lot better, but we’ve been trying to do steadily better over time.

You’re doing a good job on that.

Thank you.

Mike Olson on Women in Tech, Cloudera Altus and Director

So, we’ve covered a lot so far. What else are you working on? What’s the big thing that you’re most excited about?

The move to the Cloud is huge, and the introduction of our new Altus Platform as a Service offering. You can do these data engineering workloads without buying a cluster, without thinking about it. Just connect to the service and do the job.

I actually have a question about that, something that I’ve been wanting clarification on. What is the relationship between Cloudera Director and Altus? I sort of thought Cloudera Director was the one that was supposed to spin up things in the Cloud, and now it’s Altus?

Director allows your IT staff to provision and start a cluster on Azure or Amazon easily. Altus is something different. You don’t need to use Director. Basically, Cloudera’s dev ops team provisions and runs the Altus cluster for you in the public cloud. You don’t need to use Cloudera Manager, Cloudera Navigator, or any of that. We provide all those services.

Amazon’s got this really simple to use EMR offer. We want to be that easy to use. You may still want to set up and administer your own infrastructure, so your IT staff may choose to run Cloudera on-premises or the whole Cloudera platform in the Cloud using our management and operations tooling. But, if you’re just a data scientist who wants to ingest and prepare a bunch of data, you can connect to Cloudera Altus data engineering, and do the job.

You don’t need to think about clusters. You don’t need to think about provisioning. And you don’t need to think about instance types. That all just happens, and that runs on Azure and on Amazon and in future, we want to offer Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service, whatever the enterprise requires. We want to be able to do it all.

That makes a lot more sense. Thank you for your time. I’ve really enjoyed this.

Thank you for offering to do this.

For more Big Data insights, check out our recent webcast, 2018 Big Data Trends: Liberate, Integrate, and Trust Your Data, to see what every business needs to know in the upcoming year.

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