Alex Bush

Data Engineer, KPMG Lighthouse

Alex Bush is a Data Engineer at KPMG Lighthouse New Zealand. He was previously a Lead Data Engineer at Cox Automotive where he co-created Waimak, an open-source framework that makes it easier to create complex data flows in Apache Spark. Having graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Masters in Computational Physics, he took to the world of Big Data 6 years ago where he has been at home ever since. He has previously worked for Centrica/British Gas and Hortonworks.

Past sessions

Summit Europe 2019 Best Practices for Building and Deploying Data Pipelines in Apache Spark

October 15, 2019 05:00 PM PT

Many data pipelines share common characteristics and are often built in similar but bespoke ways, even within a single organisation. In this talk, we will outline the key considerations which need to be applied when building data pipelines, such as performance, idempotency, reproducibility, and tackling the small file problem. We'll work towards describing a common Data Engineering toolkit which separates these concerns from business logic code, allowing non-Data-Engineers (e.g. Business Analysts and Data Scientists) to define data pipelines without worrying about the nitty-gritty production considerations.

We'll then introduce an implementation of such a toolkit in the form of Waimak, our open-source library for Apache Spark (, which has massively shortened our route from prototype to production. Finally, we'll define new approaches and best practices about what we believe is the most overlooked aspect of Data Engineering: deploying data pipelines.