Alex Seeholzer is the Director of Data Services at SOPHiA GENETICS, in charge of secure services for data-intense applications in genomics, health, and business domains. He is a specialist in data-science and mathematical modeling by training, and a technologist and creative leader at heart. With over 10 years of experience in the technology space, he fosters innovation in his teams by encouraging analytical thinking and active communication.

Alexander Seeholzer

Director of Data Services, SOPHiA GENETICS

Starburst is making my life a lot easier by helping us realize a Business Data Mesh we can operate within.

Case Study Video

What inspired you to go with Starburst?

We went with Starburst for a number of reasons. We needed a system that could access heterogeneous data storages of various types and be able to specify on a per user basis, in a very fine-grained manner, who is allowed access to which data. Starburst thereby helps us implement data governance, via discovery, cataloging, and access control.

Cross-regional querying is also very important. Due to data compliance laws, data can only remain in its country of origin. With Starburst, we have the ability to query business metrics across borders without compromising on security, governance, and regulations.

Where does Starburst fit in your overall data strategy?

Starburst is a part of our overall infrastructure as the hub that allows us to connect regions and sources together and allows us to generate business metrics while adhering to data compliance laws.

What are your three favorite Starburst features?

My favorite three are:

  • Auditability: Makes it easy to manage users and gives us insight into what queries are being run.
  • Robust Support: The very organized and responsive Starburst team helped us through all of our deployment issues
  • Starburst Stargate: This functionality gives us the ability to generate on-the-fly metrics that we aggregate in each region

Which business outcomes are you most proud of?

With Starburst, we are able to control and observe all of our data no matter where it lives! Plus, it’s easier for our teams to demonstrate compliance. We’ve also accelerated time-to-insight as our business analysts can explore data faster because the datasets, columns, and rows they’re permitted to access have already been established, and they don’t need to appeal to Data Services.

Do you think decentralized data access and Data Mesh are the future of analytics at scale?

Yes! I feel the data governance rules and regulations make it necessary to have a decentralized approach because data needs to remain in its region of origin. Starburst allows us to aggregate data from storages in each region, then across multiple regions. This allows us to discover, explore, and aggregate business data much easier without having to run into access requests and bureaucracy. It cuts down the turnaround time to generate new metrics, while also giving fast and secure data access.

One of the core missions of my team is to make a Business Data Mesh happen. It is my team’s job to deal with this problem, build out the capabilities, and enable these kinds of accesses while adhering to necessary policies. Starburst for sure made my life easier by enabling a first mesh that we can start operating.

Fun Facts

Your First Computer

It was an IBM 256 that my dad bought for me to play racing games and Space Quest on, when I was around 7 years old!

Astronaut or space tourist?

Astronaut

Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic?

Blue Origin

Star Wars, Star Trek, or the MCU?

Star Trek

If you could give an intelligent alien one book, which would you pick?

Water Music by T. C. Boyle

If you could pick a science mission to explore any destination in the solar system, what would you choose?

I’d probably choose a nearby exo-planet. Expanding humanity into the reaches of outer-space would be interesting.

If you could open an office on any planet, which one would you choose?

Mars, they have nice bars there.

If you could name your own star, what would you call it?

Hagen, that’s my grandfather’s name!

Did you know?

Alex feels Mars is almost habitable and if he decides to open an office there, he wouldn't be lonely for long!

Winning with Starburst

"Starburst supports us in expanding our technological reach while also keeping a tight grip on data security and privacy. We can see ourselves expanding our relationship with Starburst as the needs of our company grow in the future."

— Alexander Seeholzer

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