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Data, deep analytics, and curry at next week's Enzee Universe

Posted by Scott Kirsner  June 18, 2010 01:33 PM

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About 700 folks will descend on the Westin Waterfront next week for the fourth annual Enzee Universe conference, put on by Netezza. The publicly-traded Marlborough company sells hardware and software to help big companies run their data warehouses. Netezza's customers buy the technology (average order size is $1.2 million) to crunch large volumes of data in real-time, like figuring out what coupons to give you at CVS based on your purchase, or to calculating the best routes for 18-wheelers delivering goods around the country.

"The over-riding theme of the conference," says Netezza chief executive Jim Baum, "is that you have all these intelligent devices collecting data, and you have social networking and e-commerce, and our customers are looking to get a competitive advantage from analyzing all of that." Netezza's newest product, TwinFin, is five times faster than its older systems, Baum says, and relies on IBM's blade servers, instead of the proprietary blades Netezza sold previously. (Blade servers supply processing power and storage, and like razor blades, they can easily be installed and removed in a large rack containing other blades.) Netezza still makes a special database accelerator card that enables the blade servers to work speedily with large volumes of data.

Speakers at Enzee Universe include Stephen Baker, author of "The Numerati," which looks at how data is changing the way we live and work; analysts from Forrester Research and Gartner; execs from Major League Baseball and Conway Freight; and Gareth Sundem, author of "The Geeks' Guide to World Domination."

The big party Monday night is a "curry banquet" prepared by chef Kuldeep Makhni, who has cooked for Queen Elizabeth, the late Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, Sylvester Stallone, and David Copperfield. That alone should be worth the conference's $475 ticket price.

You can follow tweets related to the conference by watching the hash tag #enzee.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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