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Lie #2 — The modern data stack is modern

Datanova 2023: The data lies (and truths)

By: Justin Borgman
February 2, 2023

The cloud revolution promised to help businesses operate with a level of efficiency and scale never before possible. Instead, after years of investment, companies are saddled with gussied up legacy technology that hasn’t done anything to actually help modernize their IT operations. 

Today’s CIO is bombarded with buzzy new product categories that vendors swear are key to operating a “modern” business. But despite all the marketed innovation, most companies are still tethered to the past. 

They’ve been tricked into believing that deploying anything with the words “cloud” or “as a service” equates to building a future-proof business. In reality, most of these new products are the same as the old, just in new wrapping paper.

And now, companies are finding the systems that were supposed to make everything easier have instead become an obstacle in their efforts to build a technology-first culture. 

The so-called “modern” data stack isn’t modern. It’s just the data stack of decades ago moved to the cloud.

There are significant benefits to deploying in the cloud, of course. But the pivot underway across corporate America is no different from the architectural revamps of the past. For all its success, a cloud data warehouse is just a data warehouse deployed on cloud infrastructure rather than an on-prem appliance.

Otherwise, the products are effectively the same and share all the same problems that have plagued the industry for decades. Companies spend enormous amounts of capital and employee hours building and maintaining fragile ETL pipelines while trying to build a monolithic central data repository, only to find that their information is still scattered everywhere no matter how hard they try. Analysts and data scientists are still not getting all of the answers they need to move the business forward quickly and what was touted as a savior for the data platform team has turned into a new problem for already overworked data engineers.

It’s just a remake of an old movie we’ve all seen before.

New is not modern.  We need something different.  Something better.

The transformation ahead requires an altogether different approach. It requires tools that completely change the mindset that’s dominated IT operations for decades. 

The “single source of truth” paradigm is dead. The truth is out there, but it doesn’t live in one place. To be truly competitive, businesses will increasingly need to be able to quickly analyze data from a wide variety of sources, combining new data with existing data to make faster and better decisions.

That’s where Starburst can help. Our platform doesn’t care what you’re running or where you’re running it. There’s no proprietary formats, so you’re not tethered to one vendor and you can build an architecture that stands the test of time. Most importantly, your data analysts can consume the data they need, including data they never had access to before.

That’s what the future of analytics requires. That’s a future that is truly modern.


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Justin Borgman

Co-Founder & CEO, Starburst

Justin Borgman is a subject matter expert on all things big data & analytics. Prior to founding Starburst, he was Vice President & GM at Teradata (NYSE: TDC), where he was responsible for the company’s portfolio of Hadoop products. Justin joined Teradata in 2014 via the acquisition of his company Hadapt where he was co-founder and CEO. Hadapt created “SQL on Hadoop” turning Hadoop from a file system to an analytic database accessible by any BI tool. He founded Starburst in 2017, seeking to give analysts the freedom to analyze diverse data sets wherever their location, without compromising on performance. Recently, Justin was named one of the most Exceptional Entrepreneurs of 2022 by Goldman Sachs and received the 2022 BIG Awards for Business Entrepreneur Award.

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