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Erin Hawley on Cloudera’s Cloud Security Collaborations With Agencies, Hadoop Training Initiatives

Erin Hawley on Cloudera's Cloud Security Collaborations With Agencies, Hadoop Training Initiatives - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Hawley_ Erin_small (2)Erin Hawley serves as director of national security programs at Cloudera, an integrator of open source technologies such as Hadoop for federal agencies and commercial businesses.

Hawley joined Cloudera in December 2011 after five years at Composite Software and is also a veteran of firms such as Blackboard and Sun Microsystems.

In this conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Hawley gives a preview of where she thinks agencies will shift their attention in the area of data management and how the company seeks to train and build future Hadoop professionals.


ExecutiveBiz: What parts of the business have you focused on within the past year?

Erin Hawley: My primary focus during the past year was to grow and build out the business unit with direct responsibility on the National Security Program within Cloudera“™s public sector team. My efforts focused on the expansion of business development and sales, engineering and professional services to meet the needs of classified customers. We are proud to have earned the business from customers across the intelligence community.

Our public sector team as a whole has experienced exceptional growth in the civilian and DoD markets as well. This past year presented us with an opportunity to scale our support for mission operations with both the DoD“™s Joint Information Environment and the intelligence community“™s IC Information Technology Enterprise initiatives.

We are a capability that both efforts leverage in the goal of information sharing and achieving cost savings through greater efficiencies often between 10x to 100x reduction in spend. The enterprise-level contracts we have supported with an enterprise data hub framework to make these directives a reality, are both challenging and rewarding to our organization.

We will continue to work hard to improve our platform, providing greater functionality, scalability, and security as we strive to make our nation more secure, enabling new capabilities for a fraction of the cost of traditional data management techniques.


ExecutiveBiz: What areas of data management started to emerge over the past year?

Erin Hawley: We saw a number of interesting trends in the National Security Programs space. The largest trend I think was with agencies interested in deploying Cloudera in a hybrid capacity, allowing them to move to ICITE“™s commercial cloud with the reassurance that their mission data would be secure as they began this transition out of the data center.

Cloudera will continue to advance our security layer within our offering this year too, in order to address this critical area that benefits not only the IC but clearly our commercial industry customers as well. In addition, we saw an uptick of interest in multi-INT data analysis because of the urgency for analysts to be able to access all data available to them.

Data volumes from many sources in multi-structured formats are exploding, and until today the analyst had to know which silo of data resides where and which ones they needed to search through. They then had to manually federate those results to answer the hard questions — until now.

For example, we“™ve seen customers integrating social media and satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe, as well as bringing together siloed systems data into a single platform to make holistic data analysis possible in a far less expensive manner. Being able to do geospatial analytics at scale to gain faster response to questions such as, “What is the best route to evacuate embassy personnel out of the capital of XYZ country?“ is a reality today, and that“™s exciting for our national security.


ExecutiveBiz: Which aspects of Hadoop will agencies emphasize in the next year?

Erin Hawley: At Cloudera, our engineering teams are diligently focused on improving and adding greater capability around our cloud offerings, enhancing the platform“™s security and scalability, and doing even more with technologies like Spark for real-time streaming analysis. All of these focus areas are due to customer demand. Cyber is a critical area for all agencies and I think you“™ll see a bigger emphasis on this during the year.

Network security, insider threats like the “lone wolf,” and information sharing across domains in a secure manner with these volumes and varieties of data are daunting tasks. Agencies will be taking a closer look at how they implement in whatever environment they choose — data center or cloud — but most importantly, how to keep that data secure. We are spending a lot of time on the encryption of data for this very purpose. What is at the heart of all of this for an agency is a solid governance policy.


ExecutiveBiz: What steps should agencies take when considering to adopt Hadoop?

Erin Hawley: Leverage the expertise and best practices from experts in the field to easily determine what you need to consider, and to decide if Hadoop at the core of your architecture is a good solution for your agency. If you determine there is a big data challenge, recognize what types of tools, resources, budget, and people are going to be necessary to deliver success through your program.

Look at the impact on the existing technology landscape inside your environment– keeping in mind the difference in the learning styles of the developers from the legacy days to the Hadoop days, and spend the sufficient amount of money upfront to do proper training on Apache Hadoop. Following training, identify a few use cases you“™d like to first take on and do that versus trying to boil the ocean.

We“™ve seen in several organizations that we work with that when a group has been successful with training, worked with one of our folks to get a project up and moving into production, it accelerates the agency“™s interest level overall. That is when they ultimately move more and more of their data and mission programs into enterprise-wide use across the agency with a platform like ours.


ExecutiveBiz: How does Cloudera recruit and train future Hadoop workers?

Erin Hawley: Everyday you can find an event that Cloudera is either hosting or a lead sponsor of, where we look to identify, recruit, and train the best people in the industry to either join our organization or possibly help them explore one of our 1500 ecosystem partners.

But core to how we train the best people in the industry is through Cloudera University. We have trained over 40,000 people around the globe in core Apache Hadoop with courses ranging from Developer to Data Science; Spark to Search, and even online free tutorials on a variety of hot topics, including a jumpstart like Hadoop Essentials that provides the fundamentals to get more knowledgeable on Hadoop.

We make sure that we also offer that same curriculum to colleges and universities in what we call our Cloudera Academic Program that aims to help colleges, universities, and trade schools to develop the next generation of big data professionals. We are committed to the open source community, and in addition to our training, we also support global user groups and participate in events almost daily around the world.

I always recommend staying abreast with what is available on our website to find out more about the leading trends and information we think is important to share with our community.

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Written by Ross Wilkers

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