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Ahana Brings Next Level Of Security To Data Lake


Guest: Dipti Borkar (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Company: Ahana (Twitter)
Keywords: Data Lake, Presto
Show: Let’s Talk

Summary: Ahana, the Presto-based analytics company, has added new security capabilities to its Presto managed service. Dipti Borkar, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Ahana, joins us on Let’s Talk for a deep dive into the service and the value it brings to customers. Borkar also talks about how data lake is evolving from a security perspective, the new improvements that have been added to Ahana Cloud, the importance of partners in Ahana’s growth as a company and more.

“We have added a range of security capabilities to Ahana. The first problem that we’ve solved is multi-user authentication across Presto itself. So, now you have a range of Presto users that are unified across all clusters within the platform. In addition to that, we have multi-user support for Ahana itself. You can have multiple people within the Ahana administration from the console from an authentication perspective,” quipped Borkar.

Highlights of the show:

  • What value does Ahana’s Presto managed service bring to the customers?
  • How is data lake evolving especially from a security perspective?
  • The new improvements added to Ahana Cloud to make it an even more robust offering to the Open Data Lake Analytics stack.

About Dipti Borkar: Dipti is a Co-founder and CPO of Ahana with over 15 years experience in distributed data and database technology including relational, NoSQL and federated systems. She is also the Presto Foundation Outreach Chairperson. Prior to Ahana, Dipti held VP roles at Alluxio, Kinetica and Couchbase. At Alluxio, she was Vice President of Products and at Couchbase she held several leadership positions there including VP, Product Marketing, Head of Global Technical Sales and Head of Product Management.

About Ahana: Ahana, the only SaaS for Presto, offers the only managed service for Presto on AWS with the vision to simplify open data lake analytics. Presto, the open source project created by Facebook and used at Uber, Twitter and thousands more, is the de facto standard for fast SQL processing on data lakes. As a leading member of the Presto community and Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation, Ahana is also focused on fostering growth and evangelizing open source Presto. Founded in 2020, Ahana is headquartered in San Mateo, CA and operates as an all-remote company. Investors include GV, Leslie Ventures, Lux Capital, and Third Point Ventures.

Here is the full unedited transcript of the show:

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Hi, this is Swapnil Bhartiya and welcome here to our newsroom. Today we have with us once again, Dipti Borkar, co-founder and chief product officer at Ahana. It’s great to have you on the show.

Dipti Borkar: Great to be here, Swap. Good to talk again.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Yeah, of course. You folks have announced a new security capability for Presto managed services. I want you to go a bit and detail there, but let’s start with the basics of what these services are all about, what value it brings to the customers?

Dipti Borkar: Absolutely. We’ve talked about open data lakes for many times now. And with all this data ending up in the data lake, what’s happening is that security is now top of mind for users and customers with all this enterprise data, third party data, IoT data, all of this going into one location.

And so, it is becoming paramount to have secure and governed data lakes. And that is what we’ve innovated over the last several months. And are announcing a range of capabilities with deep integrations with other services, so that users can now build on top of data lakes with next level of security, advanced security.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Yeah. I remember we had a session, with AWS lake formation as well, the integration there. We’ll talk about all those things, but let’s just stick to this topic for now. Can you also talk about, since you mentioned data lakes, I also want to talk about how data lake is also evolving, especially from a security perspective.

Dipti Borkar: Yeah, absolutely. What I see happening is that the security concerns that were part of the database layer because of this big deconstructed database that we are seeing now, that layer is moving out and it is sitting on top of the storage layer. And so, that layer is now in the form of many different services like AWS and Amazon lake formation, Apache Ranger.

And depending on the customer’s requirements, they might want to integrate with different services. We, Ahana, are managed services for Presto. Presto is a great engine for interactive query on data lakes. And so we integrate now deeply with these services to provide governance on these open data lakes.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Now, let’s go a bit deeper into the service. I want to also understand a bit about the customer’s perspective. How they see their lives change because of these improvements. Because that’s what matters in the end, right?

Dipti Borkar: Absolutely. Yeah. Think about it. As customers, the data platform teams start to build onto this next generation of the analytics stack with open data lake analytics. They want to enable their teams. It could be the product team. It could be the marketing team, the sales team. And each have different levels of permissions.

You have one team that has, well, perhaps more access to data. Another that has access to different data at a different granularity. And that’s what this enables. It enables fine grain access control down to the role level of security, which gives them the advanced permissions to build on and make the most of their data across all these teams. And have confidence that only the people who have access to it actually get access to it.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Can you also talk about some of the new improvements that have been added to Ahana cloud? Because sometimes all these things work together.

Dipti Borkar: Absolutely. In terms of the capabilities that we’ve added to Ahana itself, there’s a range of security capabilities. The first problem that we’ve solved is a multi-user authentication across Presto itself. And so now, you have a range of Presto users that are unified across all clusters within the platform.

In addition to that, we have multi-user support for Ahana itself. You can have multiple people within the Ahana administration from the console from an authentication perspective. Once you know that your users are allowed to hit a service, access the service, the next level down becomes what data do they actually have access to?

And this is authorization. We have introduced deep authorization with Apache Ranger. We’ve opened source stack plugin and capability as well. We believe deeply in open source in the community and have shared that back. And have additionally added audit capabilities so that you can know what was actually allowed, what was denied and actually have a proactive governance on the lake itself.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Thank you. Just for our viewers who may or may not be aware of Apache Ranger, tell us what it is. And once again, what benefit this integration brings to, not only Ahana cloud, but also users.

Dipti Borkar: Yes. Great question, Swap. Governance on the data lakes has evolved over the last few years. One of the technologies that has emerged as very popular is Apache Ranger. Apache Ranger is an authorization technology that allows users to grant different policies to different users. This sits on top of any cloud.

And so, if users want to have a cloud agnostic approach, as well as an engine agnostic approach, Apache Ranger is a good choice because it integrates with Presto, with Spark and other engines. And also, can be run across any cloud. If you are on the AWS stack, you might look at the Amazon Lake Formation, which is deeply integrated into the Amazon stack that we also now have integration with.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: We have been talking since the early days of Ahana, but I want to just quickly, since it’s also 2022, why not? Let’s also talk about how you have seen the adoption of Ahana growing. And also, if you can also talk about what kind of customer you’re seeing.

Dipti Borkar: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s quite amazing. The space has evolved so much. We have grown so much since we started talking in the early days, Swap. Lots of great customer adoption across the space. We are not only looking at mid-market customers and users, but also enterprise customers. And with these advanced security capabilities we are entering into the next level of depth from a market perspective, we have grown out our go-to-market teams recently as well.

And so, because of all these capabilities and the advanced nature of where the product is today, very excited about the momentum we have and the customer adoption we’ll see, even in the future. As an example, we have Securonix, which is a leader in the Gartner SIEM space. They are using it for threat hunting capabilities within their security application.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: One thing more that I had noticed about Ahana, and especially whenever we have sessions with your folks, is that you also focus a lot on partners and partnerships. Can you also talk about the importance of partners in this growth of Ahana?

Dipti Borkar: Yeah, absolutely. The open data lake space, it is a stack. And we are a part of the stack, but there are many other parts of this ecosystem. And so partners play a very important role. Of course, we partner very closely with AWS and in the cloud. We partner with table formats and transaction managers, like Apache Hudi, Delta Lake, Apache Iceberg, which are increasingly playing a very important role in this open data lake stack.

And then of course, governance, as we talked about. Security layers that we are just announcing today with Lake Formation and Apache Ranger and the companies that are behind those services as well.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: I want to talk about integration with AWS Lake Formation. But once again, I want to talk from a securities perspective. And also if you can talk about when we look at cloud, cost becomes a big factor. Whenever we talk about cost, cost is actual cost in dollars. Cost can also be in terms of time. Talk about how do you improve things for your users? And of course, said any updates there.

Dipti Borkar: Yeah, absolutely, Swap. The ease of use is a big part of the Ahana service itself. And the way that we onboard our users, within 30 minutes, you are able to query your data lakes. And we’ve come a long way from the six and nine month valuations that people would go through.

With this governance, the way we’ve integrated Ranger and Lake Formation, it’s a couple of clicks of a button and that gets you going. Once you have your Lake Formation set up, you essentially just enable it with a checkbox and the rest is all taken care of for you. This saves many, many days of time from a time perspective and an operations perspective, which obviously is a lot of value to data platform teams that have many, many things that are going on, beyond just cost.

Now, in addition, cost, that’s the operational cost, if you will. From an actual runtime cost perspective, there are areas that we are improving on, and that will perhaps be our next discussion that we have in following up around how we are moving to advanced cost optimization in the future. We already have capabilities like idle cost, idle time management. The cluster is idle, it scales down to one node and you save on costs. But we are taking it to the next level and that’s something that’s coming up.

  • Swapnil Bhartiya: Dipti, thank you so much for taking time out today. And of course, talk about these new capabilities and also share some updates of what’s going on in the community and with the company. Thanks for your time today. And as you mentioned, I look forward to our next conversation. Thank you.

Dipti Borkar: Absolutely. Always a pleasure, Swap. Take care.

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