Jason Lim, director of Technical Product Marketing: Before we dive into what Alation Cloud Service is, can you tell me what was the motivation for building Alation Cloud Service?
Jason Ma, senior director of Product Management: The short answer is that our customers asked for it. We listened to what they wanted and decided to build a frictionless cloud offering.
There are several reasons why a cloud service makes sense for some customers.
First, customers like having the option to deploy and manage Alation themselves on-premises or in the cloud. Many of our customers are shifting their workloads to the cloud to take advantage of the availability and scalability. For those customers, Alation Cloud Service is a great option to fit within their enterprise needs.
Second, they want to take advantage of our product innovation faster by always getting the latest version of Alation with the best features, as soon as they are available. We make this possible by continuously pushing upgrades and patches for our customers. With an on-prem deployment, it’s common for customers to skip some version upgrades and not get that constant innovation.
Third, they want to take pressure off IT teams in managing Alation and prefer to simplify it by outsourcing the management to us, as Alation experts. Even before Alation Cloud Service was available, the on-prem deployment required very little administrative overhead. In the Forrester Total Economic Impact Report of the Alation Data Catalog, all organizations surveyed verified they dedicated very few resources to maintaining Alation. Alation Cloud Service takes that convenience to the next level.
Jason Lim: What is Alation Cloud Service and how it’s different from the Alation Data Catalog on-premise product?
Jason Ma: Sure. First of all, there is no difference between the Alation Cloud Service and the Alation on-prem version. The only difference with the Alation Cloud Service, is that everything is taken care of for our customers. This means that Alation will handle all of the upgrades, backups, and IT infrastructure that customers typically have to manage themselves when it is deployed on-premises.
Alation Cloud Service is deployed in the public cloud. It powers data intelligence across hybrid clouds, allowing you to still connect to data sources on-premises and on other public clouds such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Snowflake and Microsoft Azure.
By letting Alation manage everything, Alation Cloud Service customers can relax and take advantage of our continuous product innovation. The added benefit, is that administration and maintenance will be minimized, as well as personal resources to support the environment. This frees up time for our customers to concentrate on driving innovation with the Alation Data Catalog platform.
Jason Lim: Tell me more about how this enables customers to leverage new innovations more quickly.
Jason Ma: Since Alation manages continuous upgrades and patches, we are able to give our Alation Cloud Service customers the latest version all the time. This means customers can take advantage of all the newest and enhanced product features and capabilities, as they come available, without needing to wait to manually upgrade an on-prem instance.
By using a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) model, we can speed up the time of getting the latest innovations to our customers. Patches to the software are given immediately and big product releases are upgraded quarterly. Upgrades will be performed at a convenient time for customers, so we can minimize the impact of changes to users and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Even before Alation Cloud Service, on-premises customers have had the option to use Alation Sandbox, to test the latest milestone builds and features on their own environment in a semi-automated fashion. With Alation Cloud Service, Alation will automatically upgrade the instance for you instantly, so the process is even easier and faster.
Jason Lim: Was it difficult to stand up this cloud offering?
Jason Ma: We’ve been laying the groundwork for this moment for quite some time. We have especially been building the foundation with a cloud-native architecture, enterprise grade security and manageability in mind.
One of the steps to getting to this point, was moving to a cloud-native architecture. This means we started to decouple and containerize components of Alation in a microservices model, allowing us to host parts of Alation in the cloud.
We ourselves have always deployed Alation on the AWS public cloud, so we have many years of experience and expertise to do the same for our customers. Ultimately, we want to be flexible and meet the needs of our customers to help them be successful.
Jason Lim: Thanks for answering these questions today. If people want to learn more about the Alation Cloud Service, where can they go?
Jason Ma: I recommend people to check out the Cloud Service page on our website to learn more.