Cloud transformation is one of the biggest trends in technology. In our proprietary research, 70 percent of organizations in the U.S. and the U.K expect to complete their cloud migration within the next two years.
Whether you plan to migrate to the cloud — or already have — it’s important to have visibility into that data.
When it comes to your cloud transformation journey, Snowflake is a big part of that first step … but then what? You still have to find, understand, and govern the data to fully leverage it.
Alation plays a vital role within the Snowflake partner ecosystem: where cloud data migration, active data governance, and self-service meet. With Alation, organizations can migrate faster, govern effectively, and realize greater value from the Snowflake Data Cloud.
That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of our new Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake as part of our 2022.3 release. I sat down with Raj Gossain, our chief product officer, to discuss this new release.
Anthony Zumpano, Content Marketing Manager, Alation: Hi Raj. Thanks for taking the time to chat about this exciting update. Prior to this release, what’s been the state of Alation and its modern data catalog?
Raj Gossain, Chief Product Officer, Alation: As a pioneer of the modern data catalog, we’ve had a tremendous amount of success in the enterprise segment. In fact, more than 25 percent of Fortune 100 companies — across nearly every industry imaginable — use Alation for data-driven innovation.
Anthony: That’s fantastic — but can a data catalog impact smaller organizations or departments?
Raj: Absolutely! Companies large and small have recognized how critical it is for them to better harness data to innovate, improve productivity, and reduce costs. A data catalog, which really is the foundational platform for data intelligence, has become an essential piece of every company’s modern data stack. We’ve seen a big increase in demand for data catalogs from smaller organizations and departments within large enterprises.
And we want to ensure it’s even easier for them to take advantage of our market-leading data intelligence platform, which is why Alation is launching Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake.
Anthony: Can you describe this offering in a nutshell — or a snowball?
Raj: Ha ha — is Snowflake paying you for the jokes? Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake is a sub $100K package of Alation Cloud Service. It includes powerful, Snowflake-specific data governance capabilities to deliver the best data cataloging experience for the Snowflake Data Cloud. ACS for Snowflake sits atop our multi-tenant, cloud-native architecture, and offers enhanced performance, scalability, and security.
Anthony: So what are some of the specific benefits?
Raj: To unlock Snowflake’s full potential, the ACS for Snowflake automatically catalogs a customer’s Snowflake databases, providing an easy to use, yet powerful search & discovery experience – enabling anyone to find trusted, quality data and see lineage relationships between objects in Snowflake. Alation was designed to empower anyone in an organization.
Anthony: This sounds like a great example of our tight partnership with Snowflake.
Raj: Alation has been investing heavily into a tight integration with Snowflake. As a testament to our strong partnership, Alation has been named Snowflake’s Data Governance Partner of the Year consecutively in 2021 and 2022.
Anthony: Help us break down some of the Snowflake-specific capabilities of Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake.
Raj: The three big ones are policy management, synchronization of tags, and automated column-level lineage.
Anthony: Let’s start with policy management.
Raj: Through the Alation Policy Center, Snowflake data policies can be extracted, curated, and managed. Alation will reflect the relationships between policies, defined in SQL and the underlying data objects for complete visibility. Native Snowflake policies like data masking and row-level security can be applied and enforced on the underlying data in Snowflake. End-to-end active data governance is transformational for governance teams, since they no longer have to enforce rules manually.
Anthony: Snowflake Object Tags are key value pairs used to classify data. How does Alation help here?
Raj: Alation automatically ingests and applies these tags to data objects in the data catalog. Tags can be updated and synchronized back to Snowflake for streamlined data classification in one place. As a result, tagged Snowflake data objects are easier to search and use in Alation.
Anthony: And automated column-level lineage can result in time-savings and efficiencies?
Raj: Yes. By parsing query logs and column-level attributes, Alation automatically populates an interactive lineage graph. Impact Analysis on the lineage graph then allows users to identify which downstream data asset and — even who — is impacted by any changes made upstream.
This is valuable for performing compliance audits on where data comes from. Automating lineage frees up people for more productive work, who would otherwise have to maintain this lineage manually.
Anthony: Obviously, we’re a little biased. What are our customers saying?
Raj: Anthony Seraphim, VP of data governance at Texas Mutual, calls the combination of Alation’s active data governance and Snowflake’s Data Cloud “game-changing.” He says it provides a trusted view of their most important metrics, allowing their executives to use data to take immediate and confident action — reducing risk while improving financial health and business agility.
Anthony: So if I’m interested to learn more and try it out, what should I do?
Raj: All Snowflake users can now easily access a 14-day free-trial of Alation to experience our leading data intelligence platform via Snowflake Partner Connect. That’s a no-risk way to try Alation, so you can be confident that we’re worth the investment. And Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake is a low-price offering that makes it easier for cost-conscious departments and organizations to start data cataloging Snowflake.
Anthony: What happens during the trial?
Raj: During the free trial period, you can expect guidance on how to make the most of the integrations between Alation and Snowflake. There will be self-guided tours to navigate Alation, the ability to ask questions to product specialists through chat, and the opportunity to attend a live hands-on lab to learn how to get started with Alation for data governance, starting in September. You can register for the lab here.
Anthony: If customers want to take the next step after Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake, what can they do?
Raj: After experiencing value from cataloging Snowflake, customers can expand in a variety of ways with more data connectors, users, data objects or apps. For example, you may have a critical business initiative to migrate more data to the cloud. In this case, you could add an on-premises data connector such as Oracle, and use Alation to identify, prioritize data to migrate, then govern it. Or connect to Tableau or PowerBI to see cross-system lineage from Snowflake to your preferred BI tool.
Curious to learn more about Alation Cloud Service for Snowflake?