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HCL Technologies’ Actian Launches Avalanche On Google Cloud

‘On top of the existing performance differentiation we have with the other providers, we were able to deliver a 20 percent superior query performance and a better cost for performance (with Google Cloud) compared to our own performance on AWS and Azure,’ says Raghu Chakravarthi, chief product officer for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Actian.

HCL Technologies’ Actian is launching its Avalanche hybrid cloud data warehousing service on Google Cloud and says it has a 20 percent superior query performance compared to deployments on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Actian Avalanche, which is designed to handle operational analytics workloads and has support for industry standards including SQL, allows for the migration of legacy data warehouses including IBM Netezza, Oracle Exadata and Teradata to Google Cloud by leveraging Google Cloud’s hybrid and multi-cloud Anthos platform.

Actian has been able to leverage the “true differentiation” that Google provides in terms of its cloud platform, including backhaul infrastructure and low-latency networking and storage access, according to Raghu Chakravarthi, chief product officer for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Actian, a hybrid data management, analytics and integration company.

“In the past, we have proven our cost for performance as well as performance differentiation with the standard TPC-H benchmark data compared to other dbPaaS providers, cloud data warehouse providers such as Snowflake, as well as ones provided natively by AWS, such as Redshift,” Chakravarthi said. “In terms of the differentiation, what you would see is anywhere from 2x to 9x when it compares to one particular provider. On top of the existing performance differentiation we have with the other providers, we were able to deliver a 20 percent superior query performance and a better cost for performance (with Google Cloud) compared to our own performance on AWS and Azure.”

The first Actian product rolled out on Google Cloud, Actian Avalanche is now in preview for select customers and is expected to become generally available in the fourth quarter under a December target date.

Avalanche is natively integrated with Google Cloud’s Looker business intelligence and analytics platform and hundreds of other popular SaaS and enterprise applications.

“We deliver this via the latest Google Kubernetes engine as a completely containerized and microservices format, so that it‘s really flexible and scalable on demand,” Chakravarthi said. “We’ve integrated with Google Cloud Dataproc and Google Cloud Storage as well. We can either operate in a cloud data warehouse fashion or be a compute engine -- a SQL compute engine on top of the Google data lake. We have a good roadmap following this for better integration with other Google services like Data Fusion and Dataflow as well as Pub/Sub and Kubeflow.”

HCL, a global systems integrator based in Noida, India, has an 80 percent ownership stake in Actian. Last October, HCL announced its launch of a dedicated Google Cloud unit with plans to increase its workforce to more than 5,000 Google Cloud-focused employees. It also said Google Cloud would be its “preferred provider” for select vertical markets globally. HCL has three dedicated Google Cloud Native Labs in New York, London and India’s New Delhi area.

“Our primary focus going forward is going to be Google,” Chakravarthi said. “We do have customers who we already have on Azure, as well as AWS, that we‘ll continue to support. But our focus and our going-forward plans will be to work with Google Cloud.”

Actian also will migrate some of its existing customers, which are both on prem and in other clouds, to Google Cloud.

“And the Google Cloud team is also going to be incentivized via the HCL collaboration to work with us to promote this and do some sales there,” Chakravarthi said.

With Actian’s announcement, Google Cloud is continuing to execute on its independent software vendor (ISV) strategy, said Avanish Sahai, vice president of partnerships at Google Cloud.

“HCL obviously has been a terrific partner both as a services company and as a portfolio of IP companies,” Sahai said. “We recently also worked with them on HCL Commerce, which is doing well. This really is part of our strategy to bring more critical workloads onto our cloud and continue to bring the key partners -- the ISV partners -- that our customers are requesting and demanding to make sure that their transitions to Google Cloud are seamless and pretty complete.”

Large enterprises, especially the Fortune 500, have been relying on legacy data warehouses such as Netezza and Oracle Exadata “way before this notion of digital transformation came around,” Sahai said.

“But really these organizations need now a much higher level of agility, and they need to manage and analyze that data super fast, and understand changing market conditions, customer demands, customer preferences,” he said. “This is where the cloud obviously comes in. Using the cloud for both data storage and analytics, using high-performance infrastructure, is much more agile and frankly the next generation of tools, and that‘s where Google Cloud really is playing a critical role.”

What’s Next

Actian has a different approach to cloud data warehousing, according to Chakravarthi, with data integration and edge data warehousing capabilities in its portfolio.

“The current Actian Avalanche has integrated data access capabilities, and we‘re going to integrate that with Google (Cloud) Data Fusion and all of the ecosystem tools that Google provides, so that there is easy access to sourcing data from anywhere from 200 to 300 sources and land data quickly, without having to work with a third-party provider like ETL (extract, transform, load) tools or your key tools, so that makes integration easier,” he said. “That is coming in the next two or three months. Eventually what we want to also provide is an edge analytics capability through our edge offering, so that we truly have an edge-to-cloud play here.”

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