Altiscale Delivers Improved Insight and Hindsight to Its Data Cloud Portfolio - DoT


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April 18, 2016

Altiscale Delivers Improved Insight and Hindsight to Its Data Cloud Portfolio

Logo courtesy of Altiscale

Let me just say right off the bat that I consider Altiscale to be a really nice alternative for the provisioning of Big Data services such as Hortonworks, Cloudera or MapR. The Palo Alto, California–based company offers a full Big Data platform based in the cloud via the Altiscale Data Cloud offering. In my view, Altiscale has dramatically increased the appeal of its portfolio with the launch of the Altiscale Insight Cloud and a partnership with Tableau, which will bring enhanced versatility and power to Altiscale’s set of services for Big Data.

The new Altiscale Insight Cloud

On March 15th, Altiscale released its new Altiscale Insight Cloud solution. In the words of Altiscale, this is a “self-service analytics solution for Big Data.” Altiscale Insight Cloud aims to equip business analysts and information workers with the necessary tools for querying, analyzing, and getting answers from Big Data repositories using the tools that they are familiar with, such as Microsoft Excel and Tableau.

According to the California-based company, with this new offering, Altiscale will be able to provide its customers with a robust self-service tool and an accessible and easy-to-query data lake infrastructure. As such, companies will be able to avoid many of the complexities involved in the complex and difficult preparation process of providing users with easy and fast access to Big Data sources.

To achieve simplicity and agility, Altiscale relies on having a converged architecture, so that on the one hand it can minimize the need for data movement and replication, especially across Big Data sources, and on the other hand, it can eliminate the need for separate relational data stores in order to reduce organizational costs and management efforts.

According to Raymie Stata, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Altiscale, the Insight Cloud:

Solves the challenge of bringing Big Data to a broader range of users, so that enterprises can quickly develop new offerings, better target customers, and respond to shifting market or operational conditions. It’s a faster and easier way to get from Big Data infrastructure to insights that drive real business value.

Altiscale considers that its Insight Cloud will be able to replace many more complex and expensive alternatives, allowing organizations to get their hands on Big Data broadly and quickly, without heavy information technology (IT) involvement. As such, Altiscale Insight Cloud will have a significant impact on the speed and facility with which organizations will be able to access and analyze Big Data sources.

As a high-performance, self-service analytics solution, some of the core features of the Altiscale Insight Cloud include:

  • interactive Structured Query Language (SQL) queries,
  • dynamic visualizations,
  • real-time dashboards, and 
  • other reporting and analytics capabilities.

The big news is that with its Insight Cloud offering, Altiscale will be delivering not only a reliable Big Data platform, but also an extension to its infrastructure that can simplify the connection between Big Data and the end user, which is currently a complex, slow, and expensive process for many organizations. This can also significantly reduce the need for expensive, proprietary solutions—not to mention that this new offering can avail many business analysts easier and faster access to an organization’s existing Hadoop data lake.

Of course, organizations interested in this offering will need to consider a number of things including Altiscale’s power to perform data preparation and cleaning to ensure high-quality data and profiling. But without a doubt, this is a wise step from Altiscale: to provide its customers with the next logical step in the Big Data infrastructure, which is the ability to perform fast and efficient analysis.

Altiscale and Tableau: Business intelligent partnership?

Within a few short weeks of the Altiscale Insight Cloud launch, Altiscale announced a partnership with data discovery and visualization powerhouse Tableau. The partnership with Tableau will, according to both vendors:

make it easier for business analysts, IT professionals, and data scientists to access, analyze, and visualize the massive volumes of data available in Hadoop.

Additionally, according to Dan Kogan, director of product marketing at Tableau:

Altiscale shares our mission to help people see and understand their data. Partnerships with leading Hadoop and Spark providers such as Altiscale help us to bring rich visual analytics to anyone within the enterprise looking to derive value from data.

Now users can use Tableau connected to the Altiscale Insight Cloud directly via Open Database Connectivity (ODBC), the standard application programming interface (API) for accessing database management systems (DBMSs). Once connected, Altiscale Insight Cloud will enable users to create visualizations and perform analysis similarly to working with other databases.

User will be able to use Tableau’s easy features to drag and drop fields, filter data, analyze data, and derive insights to create visualizations that can later be published to Tableau Server. Additionally, there is a noteworthy feature that allows users to reuse intermediate solutions provided by Altiscale partners, so that users can first aggregate and catalog data prior to creating visualizations with Tableau, thus providing extra flexibility and power to the Altiscale-Tableau connection.

Of course, the first thing that stands out from this partnership is the opportunity for thousands of users on both ends of the partnership and from different disciplines to, on the one hand, be able to use an appealing and easy-to-use tool such as Tableau, and on the other hand, to easily crack the data coming from large and complex data repository residing in Hadoop.

This partnership shows how Big Data and analytics and business intelligence (BI) providers are moving in an industry-wise manner to increasingly narrow the functional gaps between Big Data sources and their availability for analysis, while widening the number of options for incorporating Big Data within enterprise analytics strategies.

While such a partnership is not at all surprising, it is relevant to the continuous evolution and maturity of new enterprise BI and analytics platforms.

But what do you think? Of course, I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions. Drop me a line, and I’ll respond as soon as possible.


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