Databricks’ Data+AI Summit 2022: A Show of Partner “Unity”

By Matt Turner

Published on July 18, 2022

Two hands ready for shaking

Are your data users overwhelmed by silos and frustrated by untrusted data?

Tell them to grab a catalog … and go jump in a lake.

That was the message — delivered a little more elegantly than that — at Databricks’ Data+AI Summit 2022. As a proud Databricks partner, Alation joined the data and analytics community for three days of keynotes, leadership remarks, and breakout sessions during the last week of June in San Francisco.

Destination Lakehouse

The theme of the summit was Destination Lakehouse. As the opening keynote video highlighted, data is shaping the future. The flexibility and openness of the lakehouse is a key way to deliver on that promise. But you need to know your data and how it can be used. And the highlight, for us data intelligence folks, was the Databricks’ announcement that Unity Catalog, its unified governance solution for all data assets on its Lakehouse platform, will soon be available on AWS and Azure in the upcoming weeks.

Unity features include:

  • Built-in search and discovery.

  • A simple model to control access to data via a UI or SQL.

  • Automatically tracking data lineage across queries executed in any language.

  • An information scheme in the Lakehouse.

  • … and much more!

To ensure you can deliver on this world-changing vision of data, Alation helps you maximize the value of your data lake with integrations to the Unity catalog.

“Leveraging the data captured by the Unity metastore, Alation will enhance our existing integration with Databricks by easily including metadata from multiple workspaces,” said Alation director of product marketing Ibby Rahmani. “Together, Databricks and Alation will ultimately provide catalog, lineage, and policy management and enforcement for the Lakehouse.”

How the Unity Catalog and Alation Work Together

With the upcoming release of the Databricks Unity Catalog, Alation is excited to amplify the existing integration with Databricks. Alation will leverage the Databricks Unity Catalog so users can easily integrate metadata from multiple workspaces, powering discovery, governance, and insights inside Alation.

Additionally, with Unity’s new lineage, Alation will provide column-level lineage for tables, views, and columns for all the jobs and languages that run on a Databricks cluster within the enterprise catalog.

Through this partnership, Alation will help to scale governance policies for the lakehouse and foster data democratization for all users, so people can easily find and understand projects from the lakehouse and beyond.

The Power of Partnership to Accelerate Data Transformation

The thread of partner ecosystem was the theme woven throughout nearly every presentation. Putting the “modern” in “modern data stack” requires architectures that are compatible, not competing, said Ali Ghodsi, Databricks’ CEO and cofounder.

Ritu Jyoti, Group Vice President, Worldwide Artificial Intelligence and Automation at IDC, concurred. She stressed that implementing AI/ML requires not only democratized data, but also partners that slide easily into that modern data stack. “It’s not how well you play in the industry,” she said. “It’s how well you play with each other.”

Declaring that “the partners are the product,” Adam Conway, Databricks’ senior vice president of product, cites the fact that 97 percent of their customers use at least one independent software vendor (ISV) — with large customers like Atlassian and Starbucks using six or more — as the reason why partners like Alation, easily accessible via Databricks Marketplace, are vital to the success of the Lakehouse.

That’s because, according to Sol Rashidi, chief analytics officer at Estée Lauder, the data catalog improves ROI — “not just monetary ROI, but also cultural ROI and relevancy ROI, especially as data is increasingly a responsibility of everyone, not just IT.”

A Giant Partnership and a Giants Game

At the Alation booth we showed attendees how our data catalog integrates with Unity — to accelerate data discovery and streamline cloud data migration — and on Tuesday we hosted some guests at Oracle Park, where the hometown Giants thwarted a late comeback by the Detroit Tigers to hold on for a 4-3 win.

The victory was powered by a combination of clutch hitting, timely fielding, and pinpoint pitching, a partnership similar to how Alation and Databricks help organizations gain data intelligence, eliminate silos, and promote governance capabilities to drive digital transformation projects — by turning data into business insights.


Databricks is one of more than three dozen vital Alation partners that share our commitment to helping organizations find, understand, and trust data. Learn more about our partner network.

  • Destination Lakehouse
  • How the Unity Catalog and Alation Work Together
  • The Power of Partnership to Accelerate Data Transformation
  • A Giant Partnership and a Giants Game
  • Conclusion
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