Google service analyzes live streaming data

Google Cloud Dataflow can analyze both streaming and batched data with the same programming models

Google's Dataflow can analyze data as it crosses the wire
Google's Dataflow can analyze data as it crosses the wire

Taking what many see as the next step in big data analysis, Google is previewing a service called Google Cloud Dataflow that analyzes live data, potentially giving users the ability to view trends and be alerted to events as they happen.

"There's an enormous amount of data being created, and so you need a way to ingest that in a more intelligent way," said Brian Goldfarb, Google Cloud Platform head of marketing. With big data, "the program models are different. The technologies are different. It requires developers to learn a lot and manage a lot to make it happen."

"It is a fully managed service that lets you create data pipelines for ingesting, transforming and analyzing arbitrary amounts of data in both batch or streaming mode, using the same programming model," Goldfarb said.

Google Cloud Dataflow is designed so the user can focus on devising proper analysis, without worrying about setting up and maintaining the underlying data piping and processing infrastructure.

It could be used for live sentiment analysis, for instance, where an organization estimates the popular sentiment around a product by scanning social networks such as Twitter. It could also be used as a security tool to watch activity logs for unusual activity.

"There are a bunch of different business applications in which it could apply. In a lot of data-centric verticals, like retail or oil and gas, a technology like this could open the door to getting analytics," Goldfarb said.

It could also be used an alternative to commercial ETL (extract, transform and load) programs, widely used to prepare data for analysis by business intelligence software.

Google Cloud Dataflow is based on technologies that the company built internally for its own use, following up on work it did on the MapReduce programming model, which is used in Apache Hadoop.

Live data stream analysis appears to be the next logical step in big data analysis, a field pioneered by Hadoop. Hadoop provides a way to analyze massive amounts of unstructured data spread across multiple servers. Originally, Hadoop used MapReduce as the platform to write programs that analyze the data.

MapReduce's limitation is that it can only analyze data in batch mode, which means all the data must be collected before it can be analyzed. A number of new software programs have been developed to get around the limitation of batch processing, such as Twitter Storm and Apache Spark, which are both available as open source and can run on Hadoop.

Google's own approach to live data analysis uses a number of technologies built by the company, notably Flume and MillWheel. Flume aggregates large amounts of data and MillWheel provides a platform for low-latency data processing.

The service provides a software development kit that can be used to build complex pipelines and analysis. Like MapReduce, Cloud Dataflow will initially use the Java programming language. In the future, other languages may be supported.

The pipelines can ingest data from external sources and use them for a variety of things. The service provides a library to prepare and reformat data for further analysis, and users can write their own transformations.

The treated dataset can be queried against using Google's BigQuery service. Or the user can write modules to examine the data as it crosses the wire, to look for aberrant behavior or trends in real-time.

Google announced Cloud Dataflow at the company's Google I/O user conference in San Francisco. A small number of Google customers are testing it and the company plans to open it up as a public preview later this year.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why are we dubious about deep learning?

The prospect of deep learning gives those of us in the industry something to get really excited about, and something to be nervous about, at the same time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Natural born leaders

Many business and marketing managers progressing to leadership positions face evolving their focus from operational matters to strategic decision making and planning.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Do you need a loan to pay off your credit or debit? Do you need financial help to set up your own business? Do you need a loan to carry o...

NORA

Facebook: Friction is costing Australian businesses $29 billion a year

Read more

Thanks for writing about chatbots. Definitely bots have the exciting future when it comes to customer engagement, transactional and conve...

Sanket Nair

7 businesses successfully implementing chatbots

Read more

Interesting article but what about the employees? There needs to be access to quick cash for everyone involved lest we have yet another '...

Joel Pencer

Suncorp outlines customer investments, digitisation as key to business improvement

Read more

Just printed out this Brad Howarth screed to read tomorrow. I need a good laugh once in a while. Or maybe shed some manly-man tears at th...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

Morons. PC Nazis infiltrating and subverting every level in our lives.These scum have destroyed our education system.Read FrontPage Magaz...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in