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Grax now lets customers pipe Salesforce data stored in AWS or Azure into analytics and business intelligence tools.
This week, Grax launched History Stream, which makes the cloud application data captured by the Grax core software available to anything that uses the Parquet format. This includes analytics tools such as Tableau CRM, Amazon Redshift and Azure Power BI.
History Stream provides a way to directly send Salesforce data into intelligence tools so customers don't have to build that integration themselves. A customer's Salesforce historical data can be fed to Amazon Athena, Snowflake or Azure Analysis Services without them having to code a process to manually extract, transform and load (ETL) the data to the tool of their choice.
Furthermore, Grax is installed as a virtual appliance in the customer's cloud environment. History Stream can perform its ETL tasks without any data ever leaving the cloud, helping customers avoid egress charges and minimizing data security risk.
The Grax core platform captures the entire history of customers' Salesforce application data and stores it in AWS or Azure. Grax's suite of products then uses that data for different functions. For example, Backup & Restore provides data protection and Time Machine provides side-by-side comparisons of different versions and rapid recovery to an older version.
History Stream lets customers use that historical data for more than just an insurance policy, said Joe Gaska, CEO of Grax. Organizations want to use copies of their data to feed analytics tools to discover trends and inform better business decisions.
Joe GaskaCEO, Grax
"Product velocity, customer service volume and all sorts of business questions can all be answered with historical data," Gaska said.
Customers would spend millions on what is "basically plumbing" -- connecting data sources with business intelligence tools, Gaska added. History Stream is meant to simplify the process of making data available to whatever analytics tools customers want to use.
History Stream supports only Salesforce application data at launch, but Grax intends to further develop it to include data from other sources and support non-cloud application data.
Grax most directly competes with other Salesforce data protection vendors such as Spanning, OwnBackup and Odaseva.
Extracting data from Salesforce using native capabilities is error-prone and time-consuming, and then transforming that data and loading it into an analytics or data visualization software requires further manual labor, said Eric Kavanagh, CEO of independent research firm The Bloor Group. History Stream's main benefit is it saves customers from that entire process.
"I think there's pent-up market demand for what Grax is offering," Kavanagh said, describing how customers generally recognize how useful their stores of historical data can be for business intelligence purposes, but ETL is enough of a "pain in the butt" that most organizations won't bother with it.
Grax using the Parquet format to make Salesforce data readily available to multiple popular analytics tools on the market is a "game changer," Kavanagh added.
Reusing backup data for business purposes isn't a new trend, Kavanagh said. Druva, Cohesity, Actifio (now owned by Google) and other vendors have introduced ways to use backup data for non-backup purposes, such as test/dev.
Salesforce and other SaaS application data adds an extra layer of complexity because it's generally harder to extract that data than from an on-premises source, but there's demand for reusing it nonetheless, Kavanagh said. No other vendors are doing it in the direct-pipeline fashion Grax has taken, and it will be interesting to see who becomes the dominant vendor in this space, he added.