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Ahana Looks To Boost Data Lake Governance And Security

As data lakes become more strategic and include data from a broader range of sources, making sure the right people have access is becoming a challenge. New capabilities in the Ahana Cloud for Presto are designed to address these access management and data governance issues.

Data analytics startup Ahana is adding new security capabilities to its Ahana Cloud for Presto service that will help businesses and organizations improve data lake governance and access control.

The Ahana developments, including integration with Apache Ranger for improved data governance, comes as data lakes evolve from general stores of unorganized data to business-critical systems processing essential workloads.

“Security is very much top-of-mind now because all data from every source is, in some way or form, ending up in data lakes,” said Dipti Borkar, Ahana co-founder and chief product officer, in an interview with CRN. “Data platform teams are being increasingly cautious about the governance, the authentication and the authorization of the systems and [data processing] engines that sit on top of data lakes.”

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Ahana, along with a number of other big data companies such as Databricks, Dremio and Starburst, promote the advantages of data lakes over traditional data warehouse systems.

Ahana Cloud for Presto is a SQL managed service, based on the PrestoDB open-source system, used to query huge volumes of data stored in data lakes built on AWS S3. Ahana, launched in June 2020 and based in San Mateo, Calif., raised $20 million in Series A funding last August.

Traditional database and data warehouse systems have built-in data governance and security capabilities. But securing data lakes, including managing who has access to what data, is more challenging given their multi-cloud architectures and often distributed nature, Borkar said.

Ahana has added multi-user support for Presto and multi-user support for Ahana to its platform. Multi-user support for Presto allows data platform administrators to manage users without complex authentication files and add or remove authorization for users in Ahana-manged Presto clusters, according to the company. With the unified management for Ahana an analyst can be granted access to a data analytics cluster, for example, but not a cluster reserved for data scientists.

With the multi-user support for Ahana, an administrator can manage multiple Ahana users per Ahana account and invite additional users via the Ahana console.

Ahana is also offering a plug-in for Apache Ranger, integrating Ranger with Presto and the Ahana platform. Ranger was originally developed for monitoring and managing data authorization and security policies for the Hadoop platform. It has become increasingly popular as a tool for managing user access for big data systems. Before now Apache Ranger support for Ahana was available only through open-source distribution.

The Apache Ranger integration will allow administrators to manage access in Ahana-managed Presto clusters for both Hive Metastore and Glue Catalog queries, according to Ahana. Administrators can provide fine-grained access control down to the column and row levels and add role-based authorization. Apache Ranger policies are cached within the plug-in, limiting query time latency.

Ranger can be used to set Ahana data governance policies in countries and regions with regulations such as the European Union’s GDPR data protection requirements.

The Apache Ranger support also improves the centralized audit capabilities of Ahana by recording user data access, noting when user requests for data access are approved or denied based on their permission levels. Ahana also now supports SSL-enabled Apache Ranger services.

Ahana is also now integrated with AWS Lake Formation, the AWS service for setting up data lakes, including establishing data access controls, Ahana said.

Borkar said Ahana’s systems integrator partners will benefit from the new security and data governance capabilities as they work with customers to implement and manage data lake systems. “Data governance is a big part of their business and this allows for building solutions that have data governance built into the data lakes,” she said.

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