Going into the Data Pipeline Automation Summit 2023, we were thrilled to connect with our customers and partners and share the innovations we’ve been working on at Ascend. The excitement of a user conference is truly unmatched, and it was a pleasure to discuss how our products can help our users achieve their goals. 

The summit explored the future of data pipeline automation and the endless possibilities it presents. We hosted insightful talks, advanced technical training, and in-depth discussions that demonstrated the power of data pipeline automation for organizations of all sizes. 

In this article, we’ll recap the key takeaways from the summit and the groundbreaking advancements in data pipeline automation that we’re working on at Ascend.

1. Data Pipeline Automation: The Future Beyond the Modern Data Stack

The summit emphasized the importance of data pipeline automation as the future of data management, transcending the limitations of the modern data stack. As data-driven decision-making becomes crucial to business success, organizations need to move beyond trendy data stack approaches and embrace automation to unlock the full potential of their data.

Our customers highlighted these key benefits over the modern data stack:

  • Simplified and streamlined processes: Automation eliminates the need for manual intervention, reducing errors and enabling data teams to focus on deriving insights from data rather than managing complex data pipelines.
  • Enhanced scalability: Data pipeline automation enables organizations to easily scale their data infrastructure to handle increasing data volumes and complexity, without compromising performance or agility.
  • Improved data quality: By automating data validation and monitoring, organizations can ensure high-quality data, leading to more accurate and reliable insights for decision-making.
  • Accelerated time to value: With data pipeline automation, businesses can rapidly build, deploy, and monitor data pipelines, reducing the time it takes to generate value from data.

We’re at the forefront of data pipeline automation, empowering organizations to overcome the challenges associated with the modern data stack. Attendees were excited about the potential of data pipeline automation to drive business success and transform the way organizations manage and analyze their data.

2. Pioneering Live Data Sharing for Seamless Data Mesh Implementation

Another highlight of the summit was the deep dive into Ascend’s Live Data Share, a groundbreaking solution for implementing a Data Mesh architecture announced last month. Live Data Share addresses the most challenging aspect of Data Mesh: publishing, subscribing, and linking data products seamlessly within and across data clouds.

Ascend is the only platform that has developed a comprehensive solution for the Data Mesh ecosystem, enabling organizations to streamline the process of sharing and accessing data products. Attendees were excited about the potential of Live Data Share to revolutionize how data is managed, eliminating data silos and fostering better collaboration between cross-functional teams.

Live Data Share allows organizations to:

  • Publish data products effortlessly, with real-time updates and granular access control.
  • Subscribe to data products across multiple domains, enabling seamless integration into existing data pipelines and workflows.
  • Link data products within and across data clouds, allowing users to access and analyze data in a unified, consistent manner.

Our Field CTO, Jon Osborn, ran through a quick demo for attendees to see firsthand: 

  • How to transform data into useful datasets that are relevant to company’s business domains. 
  • How to enhance data to meet reporting and analytics requirements.
  • How to create and publish formal data products, and how consumers can subscribe to them via data shares.

The introduction of Live Data Share showcased our commitment to innovation and our dedication to helping businesses overcome the challenges of scaling their data platforms while promoting collaboration.

3. Data Pipelines Built with Automation: Superior Scalability and Maintainability

A key focus of the summit was the exploration of best practices for constructing data pipelines that are both scalable and maintainable. Industry leaders shared their insights and experiences with crucial factors such as data validation, monitoring, versioning, and deployment. The sessions revealed how data pipelines built with automation offer superior results compared to traditional approaches.

Data pipelines leveraging automation, as enabled by Ascend, offer several advantages. Attendees highlighted:

  • Enhanced data validation: Automated validation processes ensure that data is accurate and reliable, minimizing the risk of errors propagating through the pipeline.
  • Real-time monitoring: Automation enables continuous monitoring of data pipelines, allowing for rapid identification and resolution of issues, ensuring smooth operation and optimal performance.
  • Streamlined versioning and deployment: Automated versioning and deployment processes facilitate efficient updates to data pipelines, reducing downtime and ensuring that the latest data is always available for analysis.
  • Future-proof scalability: Data pipelines built with automation are designed to adapt and scale with growing data volumes and complexity, ensuring that organizations can continue to derive value from their data as their needs evolve.

Attendees were excited about the potential of automated data pipelines to revolutionize the way organizations manage, process, and analyze their data — resulting in more reliable and efficient data pipelines that are prepared for future growth. 

4. Cost Efficiency in Today's Environment: Leveraging Automation for Cloud Cost Savings

One of the key takeaways from the summit was the importance of cost efficiency in today’s environment. Attendees explored how the cloud costs incurred by running data pipelines can be significantly mitigated by leveraging the automation provided by the Ascend platform. The discussions delved into the details of network, storage, computing, and failures, and how Ascend effectively reduces the costs associated with each of these aspects.

Ascend’s platform offers numerous cost-saving benefits through automation:

  • Optimized processing: Ascend’s automation and data fingerprinting make it possible to understand exactly how code changes will affect which parts of a large dataset so you can avoid rerunning entire pipelines.
  • Efficient storage management: By automating storage management, Ascend enables organizations to optimize their storage costs, ensuring that only essential data is retained and eliminating the need for manual intervention in storage maintenance.
  • Streamlined computing resources: Ascend’s platform automatically scales computing resources based on data pipeline requirements, ensuring that organizations only pay for the resources they need, minimizing waste and reducing costs.
  • Reduced failure costs: Intelligent data pipelines can recover from the point of failure forward so you don’t have to re-run the pipeline from the beggining.

By utilizing Ascend’s automation capabilities, organizations can achieve significant cost savings across their data pipelines, making it more efficient and cost-effective to harness the full potential of their data. Attendees were enthusiastic about the potential of Ascend’s platform to optimize cloud costs and enable businesses to focus on driving value from their data, rather than managing the costs associated with their data infrastructure.

5. Data Engineers Moving Up the Stack: Bridging the Gap between Technical Expertise and Business Decisions

A significant trend discussed during the summit was the evolution of data engineer roles, moving up the stack to be more closely aligned with business decisions. Over the last few years, tools and platforms in the data space have been removing the burden of managing and maintaining outdated architectures and codebases. As the technology matures, there’s a constant pattern of “moving up the stack” and bringing data teams closer to business exposure and decision-making processes. With more businesses investing in leveraging data to make decisions and power products, there’s a growing demand for technically skilled, business-savvy specialists to create as much value as possible from data.

How did our customers think we enable this shift by?

  • Democratizing data access: we facilitate seamless access to data for cross-functional teams, breaking down data silos, and empowering employees at all levels to make data-driven decisions.
  • Fostering collaboration: By providing a shared platform for data management and analysis, we encourage collaboration among data engineers, data scientists, and business stakeholders, enabling them to work together to uncover insights and drive business value.
  • Encouraging data-driven decision-making: With a single pane of glass, we allow data engineers to focus on delivering valuable insights to the business, ensuring that data-driven decisions become the norm across all levels of an organization.
  • Empowering data engineers to be business-savvy: By removing the burden of infrastructure and codebase management, we enable data engineers to focus on higher-level tasks, such as understanding business needs and working closely with stakeholders to deliver meaningful outcomes.

Attendees recognized the value of data engineers moving up the stack and how we are instrumental in driving this transformation. This shift towards a more business-centric approach for data engineers allows organizations to maximize the value of their data and ensure that data-driven insights directly contribute to achieving business goals.


In conclusion, the Data Pipeline Automation Summit provided valuable insights into the future of data engineering and the pivotal role that automation plays in driving innovation, efficiency, and collaboration.

The enthusiasm and engagement of the attendees at the summit underscore the growing significance of data pipeline automation and the potential it holds for organizations across industries. We’re excited to see how the insights and connections made at the Data Pipeline Automation Summit will continue to shape the future of data engineering, and we look forward to the ongoing collaboration with our customers, partners, and the broader data community.

Additional Reading and Resources