Trifacta today announced the finalization of $12M in Series B funding in a round led by Greylock Partners and Accel Partners. Trifacta, a data transformation provider, delivers a solution that helps customers standardize and transform data into a form that optimizes the degree of actionable business intelligence that can be derived from that data. More importantly, the solution features a user experience that enables analysts and data scientists to leverage machine learning to transform data as desired while minimizing the writing of scripts and the execution of complex operations on datasets. The Trifacta platform strives to deliver a highly intuitive user interface for transforming data that enables business analysts to engage data in highly sophisticated ways while concurrently improving the productivity of data scientists. As such, the solution tackles two, often overlooked problems in the data analytics space, namely, transformation of data into a useable form, and improving the productivity of analysts engaged in the work of that transformation. Trifacta’s data visualization functionality and algorithmic, machine learning-based mapping of user interactions with data works to understand, recommend and optimize workflows for interacting with data. In an interview with Cloud Computing Today, Trifacta CEO Joe Hellerstein noted that the solution is currently in public Beta amongst customers from a wide range of verticals, all of whom face the same problem of transforming their data into a form that facilitates development of nuanced, actionable analytics and visualizations. Today’s funding raise brings the total capital raised by Trifacta to $16.3M.
Author Archives: Arnal Dayaratna, Ph.D.
Red Hat today revealed details the general availability of OpenShift Enterprise 2, the next version of its on premise, polyglot, private PaaS platform. The foundation of the product is OpenShift Origin, Red Hat’s open source PaaS product that undergirds its suite of OpenShift Platform as a Service products. In addition to OpenShift Origin, OpenShift Enterprise 2 leverages Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform. Red Hat’s OpenShift suite of products supports application development in Java, Ruby, Node.JS, Python, PHP and Perl. Since its launch in November 2012, Red Hat has presided over four releases of OpenShift Enterprise marked by the addition of more than 45 new features including tighter integration with OpenStack and datacenter integration functionality. Meanwhile, the battle for private PaaS market share, and the direction of the PaaS space more generally, evolves and takes shape with a depth and sophistication that merits a dedicated reflection on the PaaS space, unto itself. Apprenda brands itself as the only true enterprise private PaaS vendor in the industry today, although Red Hat’s OpenShift Enterprise 2 and Pivotal One will be attempting to change and challenge that proposition as rapidly as possible with their respective private PaaS offerings. OpenShift Enterprise 2 will be generally available as of December 11.
Given The General Availability Of Google Compute Engine, Is Amazon Web Services Destined To Meet Its Match?
On Monday, Google announced the general availability of Google Compute Engine, the Infrastructure as a Service public cloud platform that Google first announced in June 2012. Unlike many of Google’s product offerings, which are not targeted toward enterprise customers, Google Compute Engine comes with 24/7 customer support and a 99.95% SLA. Moreover, the platform boasts encryption of data at rest in an effort to respond to customer concerns about data security, particularly given Google’s vaunted reputation for mining every piece of data touched by its hardware and range of software applications. Monday’s general availability release features a 10% price reduction on standard, server instances and a 60% price reduction in storage pricing per gigabyte for its persistent disk service.
At the level of functionality, the GA release of Google Compute Engine claims the following three notable features:
Expanded Support for Operating Systems
Whereas Google Compute Engine supported the Linux distributions Debian and Centos in preview mode, the GA version supports a range of Linux distributions including SELinux, CoreOS, SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (limited preview). This release also features support for Docker containers that enable users to spin up containers instead of virtual machines to accelerate automated testing, continuous integration and deployment.
Transparent, automated maintenance and live migration
Google Compute Engine is now the beneficiary of ongoing, transparent maintenance routines and processes in order to ensure the effective functioning of the GCE infrastructure. Transparent maintenance operates by working on “only a small piece of the infrastructure in a given zone” such that “Google Compute Engine automatically moves your instances elsewhere in the zone, out of the way of the maintenance work” with the help of live migration technology. Customer instances continue to operate as usual while maintenance is performed.
Three New 16 Core Instances
In order to serve the needs of customers that require greater computational power, Google Compute Engine now boasts three 16 core instances for the standard, high memory and high CPU instance types. Use cases for the computing power delivered by these instances include advanced simulations and NoSQL platforms that require high degrees of scalability and performance.
Gartner analyst Lydia Leong reflected on a comparison between GCE and Amazon Web Services in a blog post and concluded:
GCE still lags AWS tremendously in terms of breadth and depth of feature set, of course, but it also has aspects that are immediately more attractive for some workloads. However, it’s now at the point where it’s a viable alternative to AWS for organizations who are looking to do cloud-native applications, whether they’re start-ups or long-established companies. I think the GA of GCE is a demarcation of market eras — we’re now moving into a second phase of this market, and things only get more interesting from here onwards.
Leong sees the general availability of Google Compute Engine as the “second phase” of the IaaS market, whereby Google and AWS stand poised to out-innovate each other and subsequently push each other to new technological heights. The challenge for Google, however, as Leong rightly suggests elsewhere in her blog post, is that it will need to earn the trust of enterprise customers. The industry will not expect Google to deliver the “fanatical support” which became the hallmark and differentiator of Rackspace, for example, but it will expect degrees of white glove support and professional services that are not familiar parts of the Google apparatus, just yet.
Moreover, as part of the project of gaining the support of the enterprise, Google will need to deliver more explicit guarantees of the safety of data hosted within its IaaS platform from the prying eyes of its repertoire of tools for analyzing structured and unstructured data stored in every conceivable format and structure. Finally, Google will ultimately need an outward facing CTO comparable to Amazon’s Werner Vogels that can evangelize the platform and sell customers on a roadmap that ultimately achieves feature parity, if not superiority, as compared to Amazon Web Services. Technology and innovation has never been Google’s problem. Capturing the confidence of the enterprise, however, has been a different story entirely for Google, although as Leong notes, Monday’s announcement may signal a fork in the road for the IaaS space and the Mountain View-based, search engine and technology behemoth. Current GCE customers include Snapchat, Evite and Wix.
Microsoft recently announced additions to its Windows Azure platform in the form of some features becoming generally available while others emerged in preview mode. BizTalk Services, Traffic Manager and Active Directory became generally available while services and features related to mobile devices, notification hubs, storage, websites and monitoring became available in preview mode.
Details of generally available features were announced on November 21 and include the following:
BizTalk Services provides Azure customers with a cloud-based set of tools for integrating their on-premise applications with the cloud. BizTalk Services empower customers to build portals that access Azure-based applications as well as on-premise data. The solution also facilitates the implementation of robust B2B transaction processing.
Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD)
The general availability of Windows Azure Active Directory enables customers to leverage single sign on functionality for hundreds of applications including Office 365, Box, DropBox and Salesforce.com. The premium preview version of WAAD enables more advanced identify management features such as “group provisioning” and functionality for end users to reset their passwords.
Traffic Manager improves application availability and application performance as elaborated in a detailed blog post by Scott Guthrie, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Server and Tools Business:
Windows Azure Traffic Manager allows you to control the distribution of user traffic to applications that you host within Windows Azure. Your applications can run in the same data center, or be distributed across different regions across the world. Traffic Manager works by applying an intelligent routing policy engine to the Domain Name Service (DNS) queries on your domain names, and maps the DNS routes to the appropriate instances of your applications.
Traffic Manager improves application performance by directing customers to the nearest application instance and improves application availability by automating the re-direction of traffic in the event of an application instance fail-over or equivalent scenario.
Amazon Web Services Continues To Increase IaaS/PaaS Market Share According To Synergy Research Group
A recent article by the Synergy Research Group (Synergy) claims that Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the IaaS and PaaS space in terms of revenue. According to Synergy, Amazon Web Services increased its quarterly revenue by 55% to over $700M in Q3 of 2013, whereas the aggregate of revenue for Salesforce, IBM, Windows Azure and Google was less than $400M for the same time period. Worldwide, total IaaS and PaaS revenues exceeded $2.5 billion for the quarter, with IaaS accounting for 64% of cloud revenues, a surprisingly small proportion given the limited penetration of platform as a service within the enterprise. Synergy Research’s John Dinsdale remarked on the company’s findings as follows:
We’ve been analyzing the IaaS/PaaS markets for quite a few quarters now and creating these leadership metrics, and the relative positioning of the leaders really hasn’t changed much. While Amazon dwarfs all competition, the race is on to see if any of the big four followers can distance themselves from their peers. The good news for these companies and for the long tail of operators with relatively small cloud infrastructure service operations, is that IaaS/PaaS will be growing strongly long into the future, providing plenty of opportunity for robust revenue growth.
Here, Dinsdale remarks that the “race is on to see if” Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft and Google can decisively secure second place in the battle for IaaS/PaaS market share. Strikingly, Microsoft, Google and IBM have revenues that are very close to one another, even though one might reasonably expect Microsoft’s Azure platform to edge out its competition given its earlier entry into the market than IBM and Google’s Compute Engine (GCE). That said, IBM’s sizeable IaaS revenue derives largely from its acquisition of SoftLayer, which itself had a rich and venerable history that predated IBM.
Synergy’s chart illustrating Q3 IaaS and PaaS revenues is given below:
Notable omissions from the findings include Rackspace, HP, Oracle, Pivotal One and Red Hat, the middle three of which (HP, Oracle and Pivotal One) are still relatively nascent, and hence justifiably excluded from the present calculation. As Dinsdale notes above, however, “the good news for these companies” and for remainder of the space is that revenues are set to increase significantly in the near term. Going forward, one of the key questions for subsequent IaaS market share analyses will be whether OpenStack’s momentum and gradual maturation propels disproportionate growth amongst OpenStack-based cloud platforms for vendors such as HP, IBM, Oracle, Rackspace and Red Hat.
In a blog post today, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer confirmed and elaborated on Yahoo’s decision to hire Katie Couric as Global Anchor for a team that includes David Pogue, Megan Liberman and Matt Bai. Mayer noted that Couric will be instrumental in “pioneering a new chapter of digital journalism” given that Yahoo is “investing in bringing our users the absolute best content and video experiences available.” The decision to hire Couric illustrates the seriousness of Mayer’s interest in re-orienting Yahoo towards video-based contemporary media coverage delivered via the internet. As a technology company, the move towards video represents a distinct effort on the part of Yahoo to compete with Google’s YouTube-based video supremacy, although Mayer’s interest clearly rests in redefining the meaning of contemporary news coverage.
A disruption in the way contemporary news is operated and delivered would be nothing short of opportune given the media ecosystem’s dependence on sensationalist and anecdotal stories to drive traffic on the theory that a certain percentage of such stories will go viral. The obvious question accompanying Couric’s hiring, however, is whether Mayer and Yahoo have thought through a platform and operational process to deliver curated, original, high quality, personalized media content that sets a new standard for digital journalism and contributes to the revolution in information delivery enabled by Yahoo’s position as a technology company, its experience with Big Data and enviable roster of media personalities. Katie will start her new role as Global Anchor of Yahoo sometime early in 2014 but will continue hosting her talk show “Katie” on ABC.
Big Data management vendor Zettaset recently announced the availability of encryption functionality in Zettaset Orchestrator, its Hadoop management platform. Zettaset Orchestrator v5 automates Hadoop installation, enables high availability on Hadoop deployments and streamlines the configuration and operational management of Hadoop clusters. Zettaset adds encryption to its Orchestrator platform by using the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256) and the KMIP protocol, with minimal impact to the performance of the encrypted Hadoop cluster. The addition of encryption to Zettaset Orchestrator means that customers with compliance concerns related to data security are one step closer toward delivering a data environment that satisfies regulatory demands specific to their industry. Jim Vogt, Zettaset CEO, remarked on the significance of encryption functionality within the Hadoop space as follows:
Encryption is a very specialized capability, and there are few viable options available today for Hadoop users. When it comes to risk management, Zettaset Orchestrator with data-at-rest encryption gives customers the upper hand, supporting compliance mandates such as HIPAA, BSA/AML and PCI-DSS, for example, and provides assurance that their Hadoop cluster data is protected against malicious attacks.
Zettaset Orchestrator also provides role-based access control as well as support for LDAP and Active Directory. Orchestrator’s support of Hadoop encryption in conjunction with its role-based access functionality represents a significant advance for data security within the Hadop space, particularly because the solution is for data-at-rest as opposed to data in transit, over the wire. Other vendors with Hadoop data encryption solutions include Gazzang and Dataguise. That said, Zettaset’s combination of automation and security on Hadoop renders it a key player in the Hadoop management space. Zettaset Orchestrator integrates with all major open source Hadoop distributions.