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Quest Software adds data governance and DataOps with Erwin

With new data modeling, catalog and governance technology from an acquisition, Quest looks to build a broader data platform to help organizations optimize and benefit from data.

Data governance vendor Erwin Inc. is now part of Quest Software, which is expanding its DataOps capabilities.

Quest made the acquisition public on Jan. 5. Terms of the deal between the two privately held companies were not disclosed.

Erwin was part of mainframe software infrastructure vendor CA Technologies until 2016, when it was sold to private equity firm Parallax Capital Partners. Erwin's product portfolio includes data modeling, data catalog and enterprise data governance technologies that can help organizations build out DataOps workflows.

With DataOps, data is managed in an operational approach throughout the lifecycle from ingestion through to data management.

Quest Software has undergone its own set of ownership and management shifts in recent years. Dell acquired Quest in 2012 only to turn around and sell it four years later in 2016 to private equity investors including Francisco Partners.

In 2020, Quest formed a new management team led by CEO Patrick Nichols and reorganized the company's operating units.

One of the newly formed business units is the Information Systems Management (ISM) unit, which includes database management, data protection and unified endpoint management product categories. Erwin will be integrated into ISM as part of an emerging DataOps platform.

"The Quest acquisition of Erwin is another example of how we are seeing data platforms, or in this case, data and data management application portfolios, being assembled by software vendors," said IDC analyst Stewart Bond. "This is a good move for Quest because there are a lot of synergies between Erwin and Quest database management capabilities, which should result in new innovations in data access, metadata and modeling."  

Screenshot of Erwin dashboard
Erwin dashboard

According to Bond, what perhaps is more interesting is how Erwin's advanced data intelligence capabilities can potentially be used in the Quest data operations, security and protection product portfolio.

This is a good move for Quest because there are a lot of synergies between Erwin and Quest database management capabilities, which should result in new innovations in data access, metadata and modeling.
Stewart BondAnalyst, IDC

Erwin data intelligence technology can be used to identify high-value data in the enterprise, which in turn can be used to focus policy, protection and security efforts using other capabilities in the Quest portfolio. There is however some risk to Erwin in becoming part of a larger company, Bond said.

"While this is a good move for Erwin because it opens up new geographic markets and can help accelerate scale of the Erwin business, the value of Erwin data intelligence to analytics, data science and machine learning risks being lost inside of a company that has been more focused on operations," he said.

Why Quest acquired Erwin for data governance and DataOps

Heath Thompson, president and general manager of the ISM unit, said that among the reasons he is impressed with Erwin is how the vendor has pivoted its business around data governance.

Data governance is a foundational element of a good DataOps process in which data is effectively understood and managed.

"Erwin is a really good asset and fills in part of our strategic thesis around data intelligence," Thompson said.

He added that with Erwin, Quest will be able look at all the data in an organization as well as provide classification and metadata catalogs that can then be used to drive value from the data. Thompson noted that there is little or no overlap between the technologies already in the Quest portfolio and what Erwin provides.

For Adam Famularo, CEO of Erwin, the decision to join Quest was all about enabling future growth.

"What it really came down to was, we were growing and doing well over the last four and a half years, but we realized that for us to really grow at the next level, we were going to need some kind of investment," Famularo said. "What we found with Quest was everything that we were looking for, which was the size and scope of the company where we can ultimately grow."

Erwin CEO Adam Famularo
Adam Famularo, CEO of Erwin

How Erwin defines data governance

The practice of data governance involves looking at data holistically across an enterprise and understanding where data is and how it is being used.

Within the Erwin product portfolio, in the first stage, Erwin's tools can help an organization understand the business processes behind data, Famularo explained. From there, Erwin can take the data models and understand the metadata within those models, show the data lineage and put it into an overarching data catalog.

"All of those components together to us means true data governance," Famularo said.

The future of DataOps within Quest

Now, with Erwin as part of Quest, Thompson said the plan is to keep up the momentum that Erwin had built up and push the technology forward.

Part of that campaign will be in sales, marketing and channel efforts around the world. Another part will be developing a broader Quest data platform that can enable DataOps.

"Quest as a company has a lot of things to bring together around data management, and data governance, and we'd like to see, more seamless integration between those areas over time," Thompson said. "So we're going to be trying to look at how we can really create a platform for data management that addresses a much broader set of problems."

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