Big Data & Analytics Heroes

Kent Collins

Database Solutions Architect at BNSF

“We strive for a 100% delivery rate all the time [and] data is the key for us to do that.”

Kent Collins, Database Solutions Architect of BNSF and this week’s Big Data Hero, tells us of the profound value of data to the railroad and shares that the “data services area is the cornerstone of the railroad.”

How have big data and analytics impacted how you do your job today?

At BNSF, the data services area is the cornerstone of what we do at the railroad. The value of data can’t be overstated. On time delivery of merchandise to our customers is paramount, and we strive for a 100% delivery rate all the time. Data is the key for us to do that. So what we need to do is open it up, give it to the business so that the business can actually make these decisions to run the railroad better.

What "gold nuggets" have you uncovered using big data and analytics?

BLU technology gives us the ability to do the analysis that we are looking to do in real time and to be able to do that in current enterprise applications that we currently have deployed. BLU Acceleration is a game changer – I mean we are talking orders of magnitude improvement and response time for all transactions, but any I/O-bound transaction would greatly improve with BLU technology. Compression is the key to the performance aspects of BLU Acceleration. If you factor in all the indexes and everything else, you’re talking about a 30x factor, which is just enormous.

How are big data and analytics changing your business strategy?

I expect us to provide a better service, data as a service to our customers, free the data, open it up, make it valuable, make it right, make it quick and fast. BLU technology for BNSF Railway – that’s the future.  What makes BLU Acceleration different than some of the other technology offerings that are out there today? Its simplicity of use is one; the fact that it runs on the standard normal database engine is two. And three, if you already have DB2 knowledge, you don’t really need anything else to implement it.