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“My Fitbit Score is Now 88” – Sharing Success Stories at the First Unravel Customer Conference

By: Floyd Smith

Also see our blog post with stats from our Untold conference polls, “More than 60% of our Pipelines have SLAs…”

Unravel Data recently held our first-ever customer conference, Untold. Untold was a four-hour virtual event exclusively for and by Unravel customers, with five talks and an audience of 200 enthusiastic customers. The event featured powerful presentations, lively Q&A sessions, and interactive discussions on a special Slack channel. 

Unravel customers can view the recorded presentations and communicate with the speakers, as well as their peers who attended the event. If you’re among the hundreds of existing Unravel customers, including three of the top five North American banks, reach out to your customer success representative for access. If you are not yet a customer, you can try out Unravel for free or contact us

The talks included: 

  • Using Unravel for DataOps and SDLC enhancement
  • Keeping complex data pipelines healthy
  • Solving the small files problem (with great decreases in resource usage and large increases in throughput)
  • Managing thousands of nodes in scores of ever-busier modern data  clusters

One speaker even described a successful cloud migration and the key pain points that they had to overcome.

In a “triple threat” presentation, with three speakers addressing different use cases for Unravel in the same organization, the middle speaker captured much of the flavor of the day in a single comment: “Especially with cloud costs, I think Unravel could be a game changer for every one of us.” 

Another speaker summed up “the Unravel effect” in their organization: “We can invest those dollars that we’re saving elsewhere, which makes everybody in our organization super happy.”

Brief descriptions of each talk, with highlights from each of our speakers, follow. Look for case studies on these uses of Unravel in the weeks ahead. 

Using Unravel to Improve the Software Development Life Cycle and DataOps

A major bank uses DataOps and Unravel to support the software development life cycle (SDLC) – to create, validate, and promote apps to production. And Unravel helps operators to orchestrate the apps in production. Unravel significantly shortens development time and improves software quality and performance. 

Highlights from the presentation include:

  • “We have Unravel integrated with our entire software development life cycle. Developers get all the insights into how well their code will perform before they go to production.”
  • “The Unravel toolset is something like a starting point to log into our system, and do all the work, from starting building software to deployment level to production.”
  • “When less experienced users look at Spark code, they don’t understand what they’re seeing. When they look at Unravel recommendations, they understand quickly, and then they go fix it.”
  • “As we move to the cloud, Unravel’s APIs will be useful. Today you run your code and spend $10. Tomorrow, you’ll check your code in Unravel, you’ll implement all these recommendations, you’ll spend $5 instead of $10.”

Managing Mission-Critical Pipelines at Scale

A leading software publisher manages thousands of complex, mission-critical pipelines, with tight SLAs – and costs that can range up into the millions of dollars associated with any failures. Unravel gives this organization fine-grained visibility into their pipelines in production, allowing issues to be detected and fixed before they become problems. 

Key points from the talk:

  • “At my company, this is a simple pipeline. (Speaker shows slide with Rube Goldberg pipeline image – Ed.) One of our complicated pipelines has a 50-page user manual. We partnered with the Unravel team to stitch these pipelines together.” 
  • “Unravel is helping us to actually predict the problems in advance and early in the process, ensuring we can bring these pipelines’ health back to normal, and making sure our SLAs are met.”
  • “Last year, to be frank, we were around 80% SLA accomplishments. But, through the two quarters, we are 98% and above.”

Easing Operations and Cutting Costs 

A fast-growing marketing services company uses Unravel to manage operations, reduce costs, and support leadership use cases, all while orchestrating and managing cloud migration – and saves hugely on resources by solving the small files problem. 

This talk actually involved three separate perspectives. A few highlights follow:

  • “On-prem Hadoop, that’s where the Unraveled story started for us.”
  • “We had around 1,800 cores allocated. After the config changes recommended by Unravel, the cores allocated went down to 120.”
  • “Unravel helped us build an executive dashboard… the response time from Unravel on it was great. The whole entire experience was wonderful for me.”
  • “Proactive alerting – AutoActions – catches runaway queries, rogue jobs, and resource contention issues. It makes our Hadoop clusters more efficient, and our users good citizens.” 
  • “We were over-allocating for jobs in Spark, and I’m not an expert Spark user. Unravel recommendations and AutoActions helped solve the problem of over-allocation, without my having to learn more about Spark.”
  • “Having the data from Unravel makes our conversations with our tenants much more productive, and has helped to build trust among our teams.” 
  • “We can invest those dollars that we’re saving elsewhere, which makes everybody in our organization super happy.”

A Successful Move to Cloud 

A leading provider of consumer financial software moved to the cloud successfully –  but they had to use inadequate tools, including tracking the move in Excel spreadsheets and saving data in CSV files. They were able to complete the move in less than a year, “leaving no app behind.” 

As the speaker described, it was a huge job: 

  • “Think of our move from on-premises to the cloud as changing the engines of the plane while the plane is flying.”
  • “We actually started the exercise with more than 20,000 tables, but careful analysis showed that half of them were unused.”
  • “We have many, many critical pipelines, and there were millions of dollars at stake for these things not to be correct, complete, or within SLA.” 
  • “The cloud is not forgiving when it comes to cost. Linear increases in usage lead to linear increases in costs.” 
  • “The cloud offers pay as you go, which sounds great. But when you go, you pay.” 

The move made clear the need for Unravel Data as a supportive platform for assessing the on-premises data estate, matching on-premises software tools to their closest equivalents on each of the major public cloud platforms, and tracking the success of the move. 

Unravel Right-Sizes Resource Consumption – as the Pandemic Sends Traffic Soaring

One of the world’s largest financial services companies sees usage passing critical thresholds – and then the pandemic sends their data processing needs through the roof. They used Unravel to steadily reduce memory and CPU usage, even as data processing volumes grew rapidly. 

  • “Before Unravel, our memory and CPU allocations were way greater than our actual usage. And we spent many hours troubleshooting problems because we couldn’t see what was going on inside our apps.” 
  • “With Unravel, we saw that a lot of vCores were unused. And we were able to drop almost 40,000 tables… that helped us a lot.”
  • “Before Unravel, we were uncomfortably past the 80% line in capacity, and memory was always pegged. With Unravel, we were able to cut usage roughly in half for the same throughput.”
  • “Before Unravel, we couldn’t give users – including the CEO – a real good reason on why they weren’t getting what they wanted.”
  • “Comprehensive job visibility, such as the configuration page in Unravel, has improved resolution times.”
  • “(Unravel) provides us a reasonable rate of growth in our use of resources compared to workloads processed – a rate which I can sell to my management team.”
  • “I’m sleeping a lot better than I was a year ago. My Fitbit sleep score is now 88. It’s been a good journey so far.” (A Fitbit sleep score of 88 is well above most Fitbit users – good, bordering on excellent – Ed.)

Untold #datalovers swag for first Unravel customer conference

Finding Out More

Unravel customers can view the talks, communicate with industry peers who gave and attended the talks, and more. (There may still be some swag available!) If you’re interested, you can try out Unravel for free or contact us