John Furrier and Dave Vellante had the CTO and cofounder of Cloudera, Amr Awadallah, in theCube today to speak about the integration of Hadoop and how he sees the future lifting into the clouds. In the midst of discussion about Cloudera and Hadoop, a bright point emerged about the collision between data analysis and online gaming. For the most part, big data analysis is coming into its own by making itself more available to those who want it—and the mainstream gaming have a lot of reasons to want it.
“Right now the fact that you can buy a single server with 8 to 16 cores with a few terabytes hard drive means that it’s more likely for new hardware to disrupt that,” said Awadallah about how easy it is to set up and prepare an analysis-based server set. “I’m seeing cases where companies say this Hadoop thing is so cool, what can I do with this? And then there’s companies with a problem and no idea Hadoop exists, so when they discover it they have a readymade solution.”
Furrier says that IT is the gatekeeper to cloud and big data technology. Both big companies and small companies seek to find solutions for analytics and big data and those solutions can be found in the cloud and with large scale data crunching with Hadoop.
“It’s all about the right solution, to the right problem, at the right time,” explained Awadallah. “There’s nothing else out there that’s capable of Hadoop can do.”
Cloudera is a bunch of geeks—in the good way—and one of the things that they get into happens to be video games.
At Cloudera every Thursday they play Modern Warfare 1 and they’ve made a tongue-in-cheek challenge to gamers out there to come and play against them. Just hit them up on Twitter. Awadallah, @awadallah on Twitter, could be your next headshot—imagine putting that trophy on your wall: “Killed by the CTO of Cloudera.” Yes, he’s a geek: that’s Master Chief on his Twitter background drinking a cup of coffee.
Like everything dealing with computers, even videogames have an instrumental effect on big data and the cloud. Gaming is a mainstream application and it produces a great deal of information, it spins out data left and right, and its being constantly produced in gigantic piles. Many gaming companies have been seeing Hadoop as a capable heavy-lifting powerhouse for studying player behavior in order to help tune the player experience.
Gaming is a collaborative environment, extremely social, and since it all occurs online that means that everything a player does can be observed and recorded in such a way that it could be mined. Many massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) spend a great deal of money to analyze what people want to do and what they’re doing in order to spend more time and energy on those things. This isn’t just how they make their money; but it’s also how they retain customers and provide the gaming experience and narrative for the players.
We’ve recently seen Electronic Arts themselves using social data to enhance the user experience with their “battlelog” feature in Battlefield 3. All of these MMO experience functions could deliver a great deal of information both to customers and the company; but they need a workhorse behind them to do the analysis.
Perhaps we’ll be seeing companies like EA and others who rely on social players on platforms like the PlayStation Network or PC venues like Steam who use Hadoop to mine their data and produce real-time analytics.