Presented By
O’Reilly + Cloudera
Make Data Work
March 25-28, 2019
San Francisco, CA

Disrupting Data Discovery

Mark Grover (Lyft), Tao Feng (Lyft)
11:00am11:40am Thursday, March 28, 2019
Secondary topics:  Data preparation, data governance, and data lineage, Transportation and Logistics

Who is this presentation for?

Software Engineers, Product Managers, Engineering Managers



Prerequisite knowledge

Basic understanding of data science workflow.

What you'll learn

How to reduce time to data discovery in your own organizations


Before any analysis can begin, a data scientist needs to discover the right data sources to analyze, understand them and gain trust in them. Perhaps, the same or a similar analysis has been previously done which can be leveraged.

Unfortunately, the data discovery is very inefficient today. Countless hours get lost trying to find the right data to use – the most common way still remains to ask a coworker. Gaining trust in data requires running a bunch of queries – max timestamp, counts per day, count distincts, etc. that waste time and add unnecessary load on the databases. There’s a no clear way to know how to find folks to answer questions about the table. And, worst of all, many times analysis is redone, models are rebuilt because previous work is not discoverable.

In this talk, we discuss what a data discovery experience would look like in an ideal world and what Lyft has done to make that possible. Lyft has seen time spent on data discovery reduce 10 fold because of Lyft’s data portal – Amundsen.

Amundsen is built on 3 key pillars:
1. Augmented Data Graph
Amundsen uses a graph database under the hood to store relationships between various data assets (tables, dashboards, protobuf events, etc.). What’s unique to Amundsen is that we treat people as a first class data asset – in other words, there’s a graph node for each person in the organization that connects to other nodes (like tables, and dashboards).

2. Intuitive User Experience
Amundsen runs PageRank using data from access logs to power search ranking, similar to how Google ranks web pages on the internet.

3. Centralized Metadata
Amundsen gathers metadata from various different sources (Hive, Presto, Airflow, etc.) and exposes it in one central place. The right place to store all this metadata is a work in progress. We’ll discuss ongoing efforts in this space including RISELab’s Ground as well as WeWork’s Marquez projects.

We will give a demo of Amundsen, its goals, deep dive into Amundsen’s architecture and discuss how it achieves the 3 discussed design pillars. We will close with future roadmap of the project, what problems remain unsolved and how we can work together to solve them.

Photo of Mark Grover

Mark Grover


Mark Grover is a product manager at Lyft. Mark is a committer on Apache Bigtop, a committer and PPMC member on Apache Spot (incubating), and a committer and PMC member on Apache Sentry. He has also contributed to a number of open source projects, including Apache Hadoop, Apache Hive, Apache Sqoop, and Apache Flume. He is a coauthor of Hadoop Application Architectures and wrote a section in Programming Hive. Mark is a sought-after speaker on topics related to big data. He occasionally blogs on topics related to technology.

Photo of Tao Feng

Tao Feng


Tao Feng is a software engineer for data platform at lyft working on data products. Tao is a committer and PMC on Apache Airflow. Previously, Tao worked at Linkedin and oracle on data infrastructure, tooling and performance.

Leave a Comment or Question

Help us make this conference the best it can be for you. Have questions you'd like this speaker to address? Suggestions for issues that deserve extra attention? Feedback that you'd like to share with the speaker and other attendees?

Join the conversation here (requires login)