Another Strata + Hadoop World event has come and gone, and well, what can I say, other than this is (yet again) one way to spend your VC funding. (“Oh. Another flash mob. Yaaaaaaay…”) Yep, performances every 45 minutes or so Thursday. Tricky to finish conversation when the catchy “thumpa-thumpa” music starts up next door. (Enjoy the similar magical goodness from last fall’s Strata NYC here.)

Sparky the Simba Technologies elephant went on a journey…a journey that began where he until quite recently lived, in the Simba Technologies Northern California storage locker. At Strata, Sparky met Simba friends from DataStax, Jethro Data, Snowflake, Databricks, Tableau, Teradata, Qubole, Microsoft, and MapR.  Sparky is quite heavy. (He is an elephant, after all.) And, with no Canadian visa, Sparky was looking for a new home. Which is why we at Simba couldn’t be happier that he was adopted by KatieT at MapR (who promptly renamed him Max, based on his resemblance to the eponymous MapR mascot).

You could divide Strata attendees into three groups: Those moving forward with Spark, those planning to move forward with Spark, and a few who were quickly realizing they needed to learn more about Spark. Want to talk to the nice folks at Databricks? You’d better have been prepared to wait patiently as they worked their way through the six-deep queue of folks visiting their booth.

Speaking of long lines, check out “Real World Hadoop,” the latest from husband-and-wife team and MapR whiz kids Ted Dunning and Ellen Friedman. (The line-up for their book-signing was rivaled in length only by the Databricks crowds.)

At this year’s Strata + Hadoop World San Jose, I learned that if you’re an exhibitor and you want to get attention, you should send someone around the show floor in a costume, preferably with your logo displayed prominently (possibly in a punny way—He’s not “The Stig,” he’s “The Zig,” because “ZoomData” starts with a “Z”), and maybe handing out swag goodies. I confess I’m a little unclear on the brand-costumed character relationship. (“Hey look! A Star Wars stormtrooper! That reminds me, we should invest in a new analytics platform.”) My predictions for costumed swag-hander-outers at the next event: Elmo! Spiderman! Lenny & Carl! Anyone/thing from Minecraft, Portlandia, or Downton Abbey!

Many exhibitors sponsored alcoholic beverage stations during the Thursday-night booth crawl. And some of those alcoholic beverage stations served considerably harder alcoholic beverages than others. Jello shots, anyone? (Seriously? Kinda thought I’d seen the last of those in the ‘80’s.) Needless to say, those particular vendors made a lot of friends…friends who really, really, wanted to talk to them. About anything and everything. Or rather, “everyshing.” (“Oh my God! I love margaritas! Let me just get another. And I love your wacky t-shirts. Can I have six?”)

And finally, some key (substantive!) takeaways from the show:

  • Using SQL on any and all data (particularly NoSQL) is no longer a “nice to have” for corporate IT, but a mandate. (Scroll down to last three paragraphs here.)
  • Connectivity demands have evolved from “Connect me to [insert Hadoop data store here]” to “Connect me to [insert Hadoop data store here] and [insert Hadoop data store here] and [insert non-Hadoop data store here].”
  • Abstraction is growing in importance: “As long as you’re connecting me to [Hadoop data stores 1-3] and [non-Hadoop data stores], please shield me from having to deal with the overhead administration.”
  • It’s not just about Tableau, or Lumira, or Qlik, or MicroStrategy, or Sisense, or (insert BI tool here). It’s about a combination of several, or all. Hadoop in the enterprise success now depends on IT leads supporting their analyst communities on multiple BI platforms.

That’s it from San Jose. I’m looking forward to seeing exciting developments in analytics and platform development at Hadoop Summit in June and Strata New York in October. Oh, and the nice folks at Actian said they might have a new song…