May 28, 2021: From BI to AI: A Weekly Recap of Data and Analytics
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Atlan, a SaaS data collaboration platform company, announced a Series A funding round of $16M on May 25. Insight Partners led the round, supported by existing investors Sequoia Surge and Waterbridge Ventures, and other individual investors. Atlan plans to use the funding for hiring across marketing, sales, and customer success departments.
On May 26, OpenAI announced that it would be investing $100M to partner with early-stage AI startups. Applications are currently open; likely partners will be companies in fields such as health care, climate change, and education, as well as companies addressing productivity improvement use cases. Microsoft and other OpenAI partners contributed to the fund.
Product Launches and Updates
Databricks held its 2021 Data + AI Summit May 24-28. Among the announcements:
Databricks launched Databricks Machine Learning, unifying Databricks’ existing machine learning capabilities with two new features, Databricks AutoML and Databricks Feature Store. Databricks AutoML automates many of the more tedious aspects of the experimentation and training phases of building machine learning models, while Databricks Feature Store can find all features that have already been defined associated with the raw data being used, helping data scientists avoid unnecessary duplicate work. Databricks Machine Learning is currently in public preview for existing Databricks customers.
Databricks also announced a new open source project, Delta Sharing. Delta Sharing is an open protocol for securely sharing data across organizations in real time. This is Databricks’ fifth major open source project, referred to in last week’s From BI to AI. Delta Sharing is included within Delta Lake, and supported by a number of data providers and software vendors such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Tableau.
Databricks announced two new services to enhance data reliability, governance, and scale. Delta Live Tables will simplify the management and creation of data pipelines on Delta Lake, and Unity Catalog will let users discover and govern their organization’s data assets. Unity Catalog is supported by the new Delta Sharing, referenced above. Delta Live Tables is now in preview for Databricks customers, and Unity Catalog has a waitlist for access.
At Google Cloud’s inaugural Data Cloud Summit, Google announced three new products: Dataplex, Datastream, and Analytics Hub. Dataplex is a smart data fabric to simplify data management. Datastream enables the replication of data streams in real time from Oracle and MySQL databases to Google Cloud services. Analytics Hub will allow Google Cloud customers to securely share data and insights within and outside of their organization, building on BigQuery’s existing sharing capabilities. Dataplex and Datastream are both available in preview, while Analytics Hub’s preview is “coming soon.”
On May 27, AWS announced the general availbility of Amazon Redshift ML. Redshift ML lets users create, train, and deploy machine learning models using SQL commands, leveraging Amazon SageMaker.
Following on its earlier announcement of Series A funding, Tellius announced significant improvements to its AI-driven decision intelligence platform. Among these key enhancements, Tellius’ new Quick Start capability helps organizations with limited data science resources get started by guiding users through a wizard, going from identifying metrics of interest to relevant tailored analytics content. Tellius Feed alerts users to significant changes in measured metrics, along with root cause analysis.
At Microsoft Build this week, Microsoft announced two new machine learning capabilities to help users accelerate AI model deployment. Azure Machine Learning managed endpoints help developers and data scientists rapidly deploy and operationalize machine learning models by automating key underlying steps, and the introduction of PyTorch Enterprise on Azure. Microsoft customers using Microsoft Premier and Unified Support have access to PyTorch Enterprise, and can request prioritized hotfixes to PyTorch.
Tableau’s Damon Fletcher has moved over to DataRobot as the company’s new CFO. Fletcher previously held the CFO role at Tableau, helping it shift to a subscription-based model; prior to that, he was a CPA with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. DataRobot is currently a private company, but Fletcher’s experience as the CFO of public Tableau may prove relevant for a potential DataRobot IPO.