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Creating an Extensible Big Data Platform

Reza Shiftehfar Reza Shiftehfar | Software Engineering Manager, Hadoop Platform | Uber

Uber's mission is to provide transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, and for everyone. To fulfill this mission, Uber relies heavily on making data-driven decisions at every level. Thus, we need to store an ever-increasing amount of data as the business grows in addition to providing faster, more-reliable, and more-performant access to our analytical data. In practice, this has resulted in 100+ PetaBytes of analytical data with minute-level data latency.

On the other hand, due to Uber's global presence, regional regulations (such as GDPR) require additional and potentially more complex operations to be supported on the stored analytical data. These additional operations are usually unknown ahead of time, in many cases contradict the way data lakes are traditionally built/stored, and may require fundamental changes to the underlying assumptions/architecture. A good example is the GDPR regulation need to support update/delete operation on all historical Hadoop data that is traditionally considered append-only and stored in a read-only columnar file format within the analytical data lake.

In this talk, we'll dive into how to build a generic big data platform that is flexible enough to support many of these unknown additional regulations/requirements out of the box and with minimum effort. This is not a review of how Uber tackled all the requirements of the GDPR but a deep dive into how Uber's big data platform came up with the fundamental primitives that enabled all other teams across the company to build their solution on top of Hadoop.

We'll look into what technologies we were able to use from the open-source community (e.g. Hadoop, Spark, Hive, Presto, Kafka, Avro, and Vertica) and what solutions we had to build in-house (and open-source) to make this happen. You'll leave the talk with greater insight into how things work at Uber and will be inspired to re-envision your own data platform to make it more generic and flexible for future new requirements.

Reza Shiftehfar
Reza Shiftehfar
Software Engineering Manager, Hadoop Platform | Uber

Reza Shiftehfar currently leads the Hadoop-Platform team at Uber where his team builds the required reliable/scalable data platform that serves petabytes of data utilizing technologies such as Hadoop, Hive, Kafka, Spark, Presto, etc. Reza is one of the founding engineers of the data at Uber and helped scale Uber's data platform from a few TB to 100+ PetaBytes while reducing the big data latency from 24+ hours down to minutes. Reza holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign and had previously worked at Twitter and Apple on similar infrastructure/big data platforms.

If you are interested in the area of distributed systems and Big Data analytics and want to follow up with Reza, you can reach him on LinkedIn ( or on Twitter (