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Alation brings data catalog technology to the public cloud

Alation's data intelligence technology is getting easier for organizations to use, with a new managed service that can help enterprises better use the data they have.

Data intelligence vendor Alation on April 7 released into general availability its Alation Cloud Service, providing a new deployment and consumption model for the company's technology platform.

Alation provides a data catalog that can help organizations understand what data they have and how to use it most effectively.

Alation, based in Redwood City, Calif., had previously made its platform available for users to deploy inside of their own virtual private cloud (VPC) instances as well on premises.

The new offering is a public cloud service that brings a fully managed approach in a subscription model that doesn't require users to manage provisioning and ongoing operations. The initial deployment of the cloud service is based on the Alation 2021.1 data catalog that became generally available in February.

Howard Dresner, founder and chief research officer at Dresner Advisory Services, said the new service is consistent with the overall broader trend of analytical data and associated applications moving to the cloud SaaS approach.

"From our research, most vendors now offer greater capabilities in the cloud than on prem," Dresner said. "Additionally, user importance ratings have been growing consistently for the past 10 years to the point where cloud-based data and analytics can be considered mainstream."

Alation Cloud Service
The new Alation Cloud Service provides a managed data intelligence as a service offering to the public cloud.

 Alation Cloud Service is a new data intelligence model

Satyen Sangani, CEO and co-founder of Alation, said the purpose of the new cloud service is to make it easier for organizations to run the vendor’s data intelligence platform. He noted that Alation Cloud Service is a fully managed service on AWS.

"We think that having the fastest and easiest-to-deploy approach is critical, and a cloud is a huge ingredient to that,” Sangani said.

The data catalog is an abstraction layer over and above all of your data infrastructure.
Satyen SanganiCEO and co-founder, Alation

Sangani noted that Alation had to build out monitoring, measurement and logging aspects to enable the new cloud service. That said, he emphasized that the core data intelligence platform is the same product that is available for on-premises users, as well as those that choose to deploy to their own VPC.

Where the Alation data catalog fits in the cloud

All the data an organization has cataloged and stored doesn't necessarily have to be in the cloud as part of the new managed service.

"The data catalog is an abstraction layer over and above all of your data infrastructure," Sangani explained. "So that can be your data warehouses, data lakes, or that can also be BI tools or ETL [extract, transform, load] tools as the case may be."

Sangani noted that organizations often use other data catalog technologies as well, alongside Alation. In the cloud, AWS has its own data catalog called AWS Glue. Google has its own Data Catalog service, as does Microsoft Azure. Data catalogs can also be part of existing data analytics tools as well. For example, Tableau includes an integrated data catalog capability.

In Sangani's view, Alation is different than other data catalogs in that it provides a business-user-oriented view of data more than a technical view, which is often the focus for other data catalogs.

"We think of ourselves as a data catalog of data catalogs, sitting on top of all data assets," Sangani said. "So we sit across many of these different catalog types, across all these different infrastructure vendors."

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