Alation Cloud Service: Data Intelligence Just Got Simpler

By Ibby Rahmani

Published on April 7, 2021

Alation Cloud Service: Data Intelligence Just Got Simpler

In the newest offering, Alation Cloud Service, Alation delivers the most comprehensive cloud-based data intelligence platform on the market. It provides users with the simplest and fastest way to drive data intelligence across hybrid environments. Business and technical users have always found Alation Data Catalog simple to use and manage. With Alation Cloud Service, enterprises can realize innovation faster. Enterprises can use the data catalog without any administrative overhead.

In this blog we will discuss key attributes for a data catalog in the cloud, plus the three unique capabilities of Alation:

  • Deliver data intelligence as a service

  • Provide faster time to value

  • Deploy easily with no overhead

  • Support enterprise-grade security & availability

  • Intelligence

  • Active Governance

  • Broad, deep connectivity

Key attributes of a data catalog in the cloud

A data catalog in the cloud must meet certain requirements. Enterprises expect the data catalog to connect to a myriad of data sources, irrespective of location (on-prem or hybrid cloud). Enterprises need faster time to value and immediate access to new innovations. The cloud offers robust cost savings, with no administrative overhead. Lastly, a cloud service should be free of vulnerability, risk, or downtime.With this in mind, the data catalog in the cloud must offer the following key attributes:

  • Deliver data intelligence, as a service

  • Provide faster time to value

  • Deploy easily with no overhead

  • Support enterprise-grade security & availability

Finding and governing data is hard enough in a single repository. In most enterprises, data is spread across multiple on-premises systems and in one or more public clouds. Users need a platform that connects to data sources on-prem or in the cloud and provides data intelligence.

Powered by the industry’s broadest and deepest connectivity, the Alation Data Catalog supports data intelligence use cases across an organization’s de facto hybrid cloud environments. Alation’s cloud offering delivers these same benefits, now available as a service. Alation Cloud Service is available on AWS. Alation’s cloud-native architecture allows you to scale further by deploying on-premises or on hybrid cloud.

Today’s enterprises need immediate access to technological innovations. They require upgrades right away. Unlike in-house solutions, which can take a data operations team weeks to months to implement, a cloud-based offering brings improvements on day zero.

Now, updates are quick and transparent. Alation Cloud Service updates the latest catalog features quickly through continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) – ensuring you reap the benefits of new features as quickly as they are made available. Through the modern cloud-native technology beneath the hood, Alation removes the dependency of a release cycle. This helps you realize innovation to components (applications) in the catalog, faster.

The cloud frees up time for your team. With Alation Cloud Service, we support the cloud-based data catalog, which requires minimum IT effort to manage. It will be updated, patched, upgraded, and backed up by the service provider periodically – reducing the infrastructure management overhead for the data operations teams.

Alation helps you realize the benefit of the data catalog from day zero. Alation removes administrative overhead by providing upgrades, ongoing administration, and disaster recovery behind the scenes. It’s all handled for you, letting you focus entirely on getting business value from the data catalog.

Enjoy the peace of mind of always-on security. We believe security, availability, and disaster recovery are paramount to any cloud service offering. A data catalog contains critical metadata (like schema information), which need to be secure and available to consumers at all times. Hence, the data catalog must be protected by enterprise-grade security.

High availability is vital, as downtime lowers productivity. A regional level of protection against site outage ensures ongoing availability, as well as productivity.

Boasting enterprise-grade security and a cloud-native architecture, Alation is built to meet the needs of the largest and most demanding organizations. Alation uses encrypted communications and encrypted backup through industry-standard encryption and protocol (AES256 and TLS, which can be limited to TLS v1.2). Alation is certified against ISO 27001.

Alation Cloud Service also leverages availability zones and other mission-critical capabilities from our cloud provider (AWS). This ensures the catalog remains as a mission-critical foundation for data intelligence in the cloud.

Three unique capabilities of Alation

Not all data catalogs are created equal. Some work for a specific tool or infrastructure, while others form command-and-control governance suites. But only a data catalog built as a platform can empower people to find, understand, and govern data, and support emerging data intelligence use cases.

Alation possesses three unique capabilities: intelligence, active data governance, and broad, deep connectivity. Alation Cloud Service is custom-built to support these capabilities.

Alation Cloud Service consolidates the data environment, giving data intelligence one place to learn and optimize. Intelligence makes data searches relevant and curation scalable. It automatically surfaces clues in the data to remove the manual effort of discovery within the huge volume, variety, and veracity of data produced by the modern enterprise.

Alation’s data intelligence comes from user behavior. The unique Behavioral Analysis Engine (BAE) leverages machine learning pattern recognition to surface insights on how data is used. For example, many enterprises find that data workers only use 5 to 10% of all data. Insights, like “popularity”, gleaned from the BAE, power recommendations that help you easily find and understand data. Alation also surfaces guidelines and policies to ensure accurate, well-governed analytics.

A cloud-based data catalog supports unified data governance. Catalog features, like a business glossary, offer visibility into terminology, while a central repository houses all compliance and policy details from the entire enterprise.

To be effective, data governance must be integrated into the day-to-day activities of data consumers. Ensuring compliance and consistency is most effective at point of use. This requires an active approach to data governance.

Active data governance ensures compliance while encouraging proper data usage, connecting policies to how data is used. An active approach to data governance encourages data-driven decision-making at point of use.

Alation empowers an active approach to data governance by weaving it seamlessly into the activities of data consumers. With Alation, you are shown how to use data the right way. Flags and suggestions appear as they work; for example, warnings alert users to potentially sensitive data and suggestions guide proper use.

From the cloud, governance teams enjoy a birds-eye view of the whole data landscape. They can alert users to changes in asset status, whether through the data catalog, email, or directly into BI and visualization tools, like Tableau or Salesforce Einstein Analytics. Alation gives governance teams a single place for enterprise data policies and workflows. This enables them to close the gap between policies and enforcement while optimizing their work.

The cloud unifies a distributed data landscape. This is critical for breaking down data silos in a complex data environment. Enterprises can reduce complexity by providing data consumers with one central location to access and manage data from the cloud. For a data catalog to effectively fill this need, it must have broad, deep connectivity to all the data sources that matter for data and analytics.

Alation’s pre-built connectors enable you to access data from a wide range of sources, from cloud data lakes to business intelligence tools. An Open Connector Framework SDK enables the data catalog to connect to any source that doesn’t currently have a pre-built connector. Through deep integration, Alation gleans vital metadata insights from data sources and makes them available to you.

To better understand innovations that power the Alation Cloud Service, read this blog by Jason Ma, our Senior Director of Product Management.

To get started with Alation Cloud Service, join the interest list.

  • Key attributes of a data catalog in the cloud
  • Three unique capabilities of Alation
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