UPDATED 15:45 EDT / MARCH 31 2020

Joe Gonzalez, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. BIG DATA

How MassMutual keeps big data under control and accessible across its hybrid environment

Dealing with big data is a big deal. Especially if you’re a centuries-old financial services company sitting on terabytes of confidential information. Storing the data securely is challenge number one. But static data doesn’t earn its keep in today’s digital economy.

“You want to be able to use that data,” said Joe Gonzalez (pictured), Vertica data warehouse administrator at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. “You need a platform that is going to be able to access that data, get it to the clients, get it to the customers as quickly as possible and not pay an arm and a leg for the privilege to do so.”

Gonzalez spoke with Dave Vellante, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the virtual Vertica Big Data Conference. They discussed how MassMutual is evolving its data management strategy using Vertica’s Eon Mode cloud analytics platform. (* Disclosure below.)

Enterprise data management for a hybrid world

When Gonzalez came onboard, MassMutual had separate Vertica Enterprise Mode clusters. One was assigned to the very intensive queries generated by the company’s data scientists and another to the APIs for customer account access, which require sub-second query responses.

The problem was that the customers accessing their accounts via the MassMutual app weren’t always able to get the performance they needed because fast queries were being overrun by the larger queries that needed more resources, according to Gonzalez.

His first challenge was to reduce the separate clusters into a single cluster that could handle both intensive data heavy queries and response critical API queries. Switching to Vertica’s Eon Mode cloud analytics platform made this possible, according to Gonzalez.

“Eon really helps with that because it allows you to store that data in the S3 communal storage,” he said, explaining how the main cluster is set up to run the heavy queries, with sub-clusters that separate out the compute to give the APIs their own resources. This brings a huge cost savings as the sub-clusters are only spun up when needed.

“You’re not paying for the storage,” Gonzalez said. “You’re only paying for the nodes, the EC2 instances that are up and running when you need them, and that is huge.”

The ability to separate storage both on-prem and across clouds is a differentiator for Vertica, Vellante explained, describing Eon as an “important innovation.” But is moving to Eon easy for a database administrator who doesn’t have Gonzalez’ years of experience?

“It’s definitely easy enough that if you have at least a little bit of Vertica experience you can learn it yourself,” Gonzalez responded.

However, leaving the customer to go it alone is not the Vertica way.

“The reason I stayed with Vertica and specifically have remained a Vertica DBA for the last seven years is because of the way Vertica stays in touch with its customers,” he said. “They really sit down with you and have those conversations about what are your needs … [they] helped us figure out the best ways to get our data over from the Enterprise Edition into Eon very quickly and very efficiently.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the virtual Vertica Big Data Conference. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Vertica Big Data Conference. Neither Vertica, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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