Demystifying the Modern Data Stack with Alex Thor from Astrato Analytics

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The data space is evolving at an incredible speed. In this episode of the DATAcated on Air podcast, host Kate Strachnyi talks with Alexander Thor, Director of Product Management at Astrato Analytics. Alex has spent the better part of the last decade within the data space, from crafting custom visualizations to being part of product development, driving and building data. Listen to learn more about the modern data stack, where it’s going, and pitfalls to avoid.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • The modern data stack [04:50]
  • Usage and cost [05:48]
  • Selecting the right tool [10:01]
  • Data security in the cloud [16:15]
  • Getting executive buy-in [24:12]
  • Creating the right data team [26:37]
  • Play the data where it lives [28:59]
  • The future of the data stack [36:08]

Changes in data

Innovation in the data space is happening so rapidly that the definition of staying within the modern data stack has changed dramatically. The data space has gotten to a place where the barrier to entry is so low that someone could shop for various products and stitch them together into a cohesive experience for users and the company. This process is unlike what things were like in the 90s when a company would have to have a million dollars to buy an ETL tool.

Benefits of paying by usage

There’s still some confusion in terms of usage and the cost that comes with it. Many people fear that if they keep using some of the newer tools that charge by usage, they might spend a lot more money than if they had purchased something upfront. Paying by usage makes scaling easier. Without that setup, licensing and hardware would be necessary to support that peak. Instead, paying for usage allows costs to be scaled alongside the business scaling.

Ten or fifteen years ago, businesses would go to big vendors and buy things like large servers that came preconfigured with the desired software. Ingesting new data sets became costly because, at some point, a barrier was hit. Then a new appliance would have to be purchased, or an on-prem data warehouse would have to be scaled. These processes would require an army of people and a lot of money.

A benefit of buying a service is no longer having on-prem hardware that must be maintained. All of the people in an organization tasked with maintaining the lights of the databases and physical servers can then focus on providing value to organizations. Data engineering has undergone a massive change over the last few years.

Making data accessible

Astrato is an analytic solution that allows people to build dashboards and take those dashboards a step further. It enables something advanced to be built without making a tool overly complex. This product also includes some no-code aspects so that people can build interactive logic and visually program something that guides users down specific paths of analysis.

Alex’s favorite feature of Astrato is that knowing SQL isn’t necessary. The company generates human-readable SQL rather than machine-generated code that nobody can ready. At any point in time, the user can go into a visualization, ask for the SQL, and it will be readable. Then someone can give that SQL to a colleague, have them run the same query, and achieve the same results. Astrato is facilitating data communication in a more realistic, usable timeline.

Resources & People Mentioned

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