Alation joins IBM DataWorks ecosystem

CEO and co-founder, Alation, Inc.

Today, Alation announces that we are bringing our collaborative data catalog to IBM Project DataWorks with Watson. We’re excited to play a role as a founding member of the DataWorks ecosystem. IBM has been synonymous with data and analytics for as long as these terms have had substance. Like IBM, Alation recognizes that enterprises need to accelerate their data and analytics initiatives with an integrated cloud data platform that encompasses every form of data computation imaginable, from relational databases to Hadoop with Apache Spark. Unquestionably, this is an ambitious endeavor, and we’re excited to participate.

Analysts and developers demand the best infrastructure to process and store data, decoupled from the pain of provisioning and management. In these modern, heterogeneous environments, the immediate challenge is dealing with data sprawl: finding data, understanding the data across multiple environments with complex workloads, and finally putting that data to use.

Data consumers want to be able to shop for data as easily as they shop for products on Amazon; they want a catalog. A rich catalog requires sophisticated search that translates the communication of a business term into direct access to the data assets analysts need: reports, queries, tables and files.

Given the volume of these various assets proliferating across multiple heterogeneous environments, automation would have to play a key role in gathering data about data in one place, without the tedious work of step-by-step manual notation. Machine learning could enable an analyst to uncover patterns automatically, avoiding the manual work they have to do today. Existing logs could allow analysts and developers to uncover patterns in data, revealing context pertaining to how that data has been used in the organization., like Amazon or LinkedIn, having all the data and context accessible in one place encourages human-to-human interaction. An analyst coming to a data set could see, for the first time, how other colleagues have used the data, learn why they used the data and be able to easily connect with the other expert users that truly understand the data. Analysis is a team sport, and as any successful team knows, reviewing last week’s play is critical to playing better this week.

While self-service analytic environments offer tremendous value, when more data is in the hands of more users, for different purposes, data governance becomes exponentially more complicated. Rather than try to enforce policies that limit access to data, data would ideally be stewarded in a way that ensures the enterprises can gain the benefits of self-service analytics without chaos. Stated differently, in a world of complexity, governance is about teaching people how to use data, not just proving compliance by adherence to workflows. You can print only so many driving manuals before it becomes apparent that traffic signs are the real solution.

At Alation, we took these hypotheticals and ideally tried to craft them in to a solution that addresses these requirements for customers of IBM DataWorks. Learn more about Alation and Alation Connect.