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Ahana raises $20M for Presto cloud data lake query tech

Ahana looks to grow the market for its open source-based cloud data query engine as the volume of stored data that organizations want to analyze continues to expand.

Data lake engine vendor Ahana said today it raised $20 million in a Series A round of funding to expand its technology and go-to-market efforts as it aims to help organizations use data lakes for analytics and business intelligence.

Ahana, based in San Mateo, Calif., emerged in June 2020 with $2.25 million in seed funding and an initial offering providing a commercially supported version of PrestoDB on AWS.

Presto is an open source technology that enables companies to query their data lakes with high performance. Ahana expanded its portfolio in September 2020 with the launch of Ahana Cloud for Presto, a fully managed service for enterprises.

In this Q&A, Steven Mih, CEO and co-founder of Ahana, talks about the direction the vendor is taking and why it is seeing growing demand.

Why is Ahana now raising a Series A?

Steven Mih: There's just a phenomenally large market. We raised a seed round last year, and now we're growing and we want to invest in the opportunity that's there. We have customer traction, and we're really tapping into the Presto market.

Headshot of Ahana CEO and co-founder Steven MihSteven Mih

We see this round helping to fuel a few investment areas. One is product and engineering, to really drive more innovation for Presto-based open data lakes. Then we will also invest in our go-to-market initiatives and driving marketing and sales.

The Snowflake IPO was a big moment. Investors realized that this is now a hot category and data now is becoming very important.

Everyone is data-driven, and data warehouses have been the workhorse of analytics, but there is some shifting. Some organizations are not putting all their data into a data warehouse and are putting a lot of data in a data lake. Some organizations want to use both a data warehouse and a data lake.

The Snowflake IPO was a big moment. Investors realized that this is now a hot category and data now is becoming very important.
Steven MihCEO, Ahana

At Ahana, we can query data directly from the data lake and that's a pretty exciting space.

Where do you see Ahana and Presto fitting into the hybrid and multi-cloud world for data lakes?

Mih: We don't see much demand for Presto on premises or hybrid, other than from the very largest companies that have really bet on hybrid. We work with a lot of midmarket organizations that are mostly on AWS, and while they have different data silos, most of their data is in an AWS lake.

I think that multi-cloud is a reaction to the dominance that AWS has as some customers don't want to get locked in too much to AWS. AWS is a pretty good place to be; they have so much technology, so many things that they've done to drive the costs down to operate in the cloud. What we see is that most customers are pretty happy with AWS and that's where most of the customers are.

Over time, there will be companies, especially on the larger side, that say they need to have AWS plus one and they'll add in Azure because they have a lot of Microsoft products on their on-premises side, or they go and look at Google.

At Ahana, we will support other clouds in the future. Today, we're focused on the AWS opportunity.

What's next for Ahana and the open source Presto cloud data lake market?

Mih: We really want to see Presto become the de facto standard SQL query engine for cloud data lakes. We're excited about some of the work that we're doing at the Presto Foundation together with Facebook, as well as Uber and Twitter.

At Ahana, we're really starting to promote what's called the PHAS stack that includes Presto, Apache Hudi, AWS and S3. The PHAS stack is something that will allow organizations to have some of the same data lake technology that the big internet hyperscalers are using, but in a more easily accessible approach.

Editor's note: This interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.

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