Cloud Data Warehouse

Actian on Google Cloud Delivers High-Speed and Pay-Only-for-What-You-Need

Actian Corporation

May 6, 2021

Actian Avalanche + Google Cloud

The Actian Data Platform (formerly Avalanche), with the fastest columnar analytics engine available in the market today, is now generally available on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) via Google Cloud and the Google Marketplace. For organizations that need the flexibility to scale dynamically yet pay only for the resources they need, that want an ultra-fast, MPP columnar database engine capable of delivering faster, deeper analytical insights while making it easier than ever for end users to self-access the data they need to do their jobs, this is big news. If ever you needed a good reason to embrace the power of the cloud, this is it.

Google Cloud is the smallest of the big three providers but is growing fast. The experience of building on Google Cloud is hard to beat as well, Google has taken a lot of time to build a great developer experience and we expect that given the great experience Actian has had in building on Google, many others will find similar benefits to using Google Cloud to facilitate their movement to the cloud.

Use Cases – Where Actian on GCP Shines

Interest in data analysis only grows as organizations become more sophisticated and seek greater insights—into their customers’ inclinations, the efficiency of their business processes, and their ability to seize short-lived opportunities. Organizations of all sizes, in a wide range of geographies and industries — including financial services, automotive, healthcare, and retail/e-commerce — are taking advantage of the ultra-high performance and scalability that Actian on GCP offers right out of the virtual box. Some examples are below:

  1. A Fortune 10 financial data services company uses Actian on GCP alongside their trading applications to deliver an edge for its customers, enabling them to perform ad hoc analytics on significant amounts of data returning requested results with sub-second response time.
  2. A top Western European company in the automotive industry has used Actian on GCP to accelerate the delivery — and increase the accuracy — of price quotations for prospects and customers. Data involved in risk assessment, for example, accident reports, driving records, and so forth can change rapidly, so the ability to deliver quotations with up-to-the-moment data provides more accurate risk assessments, delivering a competitive advantage in a highly competitive industry.
  3. Service providers in the healthcare claims payment space leverage Actian operational analytics to extract insights from high volumes of claim data and provide decision-makers with the most up-to-date data for analytical review to eliminate errors, abuse and fraud. Elsewhere in the healthcare sector, innovative clinical trial service units rely on Actian on GCP to analyze large volumes of clinical trial data for patterns and trial performance insights.
  4. A leading French retailer relies on the highly performant analytics engine of Actian on GCP to increase marketing effectiveness and efficiency. The company’s ability to draw insights more rapidly from its own data enables it to optimize marketing spend and gain a better ROI.

Ultra-High Performance

GigaOM, a leading independent organization known for benchmarking database performance, recently put Actian to the test against competing Cloud products, including AWS Redshift, Snowflake, Azure, and BigQuery.  In terms of price/performance, Actian beat every one of them. Handily.

And you don’t need to take our word for it: Read the full GigaOM Report.

So, What’s New About Actian?

Under the hood, the Actian database and integration engines are tried and tested. They have been evolving for years in response to real-world demands. Actian on GCP is the latest iteration of this proven platform, and it incorporates not only cutting-edge technological advances, including advances in security and user management.

Some of the exciting new features just announced:

  1. Separation of Storage and Compute -> Users of Actian on GCP can scale compute and storage resources independently and automatically. Google Cloud Storage provides all the storage you need – and you only pay for the storage you need.
  2. Google Marketplace Integration -> Forget about complicated and time-consuming scripted installations. Actian is now containerized and available directly through Google Marketplace. This has some great benefits, including the ability to subscribe and set up Actian on GCP as a managed SaaS offering with just a few clicks. With the ability to procure Actian through Google, retirement of Google commits can be used for Actian.
  3. Google SSO -> Google Account users can gain rapid access to Actian on GCP via Google Single Sign On (SSO).
  4. Role-based User Management -> Actian now provides a GUI-based user management system that enables fine-grained, role-based permission management based on user roles. Actian administrators can use SQL to manage even more fine-grained permissions, but the GUI-based management system provides a fast and easy way to set up role-based user profiles.
  5. Kubernetes Containerization Management -> All backend Actian services are now containerized and managed by the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). GKE automatically handles the orchestration and management of its underlying pods/containers, which dramatically accelerates backend service execution. Operations such as deleting a warehouse from Actian on GCP can take only seconds—whereas the same operation on AWS or Azure would take minutes. Such optimizations ensure that organizations pay only for what they really need (and don’t prolong resource use unnecessarily). Kubernetes containerization also paves the way for an even better experience in Actian where patches/updates/upgrades are concerned. Read more about why Kubernetes is cool here: Take full advantage of the separation of compute and storage resources with Actian on GKE.
  6. Query Result Caching -> Now enabled by default for all warehouses, query result caching accelerates access to insight. After a query is executed against persistent data, its result is placed in cache. If the same query is run again, Actian returns the cached result rather than re-running the query. This significantly improves data warehouse performance and frees up resources to support the execution of novel queries.
  7. REST API -> A new REST API enables users to load Actian warehouses directly. The API has a direct link to the underlying data warehouse engine, thus enabling ultra-fast loads to a warehouse.
  8. 1AU Instance Availability -> For testing purposes or those use cases that require only a single node (rather than a multi-node cluster), a single Actian Unit (1AU) instance of Actian is available on GCP. The 1AU instance includes the full Actian feature set, including the recent enhancements described above.

Current Features of Actian Data Platform, and a Few to Come Shortly

Amidst the excitement about the new features and benefits Actian is announcing with the GA release of Actian on GCP, it’s worth stepping back to remember all the other exciting features that have recently been announced—including a robust user interface for managing the lifecycle of data warehouses (now available across Google Cloud, Azure, and AWS). Actian also recently saw a refreshed platform UI for its built-in Query Editor—as well as the ability to use multiple tabs, improved methods for viewing information about database tables, and a host of new charting capabilities.

While Actian on GCP includes pre-installed sample data to help you kick-start the evaluation process, you can also load your own data using out-of-the–box templates designed to connect to data sources such as Salesforce or to data sources on your own desktop such as Excel spreadsheets. Getting data into Actian on GCP is easy, as is connecting to Actian on GCP from your favorite BI and visualization tools (such as Looker, Tableau, and Power BI) is even easier as Actian provides connectivity information directly in the platform.  Try out a free trial of Actian on GCP today: https://www.actian.com/free-trial/. Instructions for connecting Looker, Tableau, and Power BI are included with the trial.

As mentioned earlier, Actian Data Platform now utilizes Kubernetes in its backend and is a complete re-write of the backend infrastructure. The new backend enables both automation of management functions such as patching and updates while also enabling better utilization of resources. For example, deleting a warehouse in AWS and Azure would take a few minutes, while in Actian on Google Cloud, it takes only a few seconds. These small enhancements help our customers better pay for what they actually use.

Stay tuned for more updates, as Actian is heavily investing in Actian and looking to bring even more great features to the platform very soon.  Want to hear more, join our virtual Hybrid Data Conference on May 25th in North American Eastern and May 27th in Central European time zones from 11 AM to 4 PM, respectively.  I’ll go into much of what was briefly touched on above in far more detail along with many of my Actian colleagues.  You can find out more information here.

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About Actian Corporation

Actian makes data easy. We deliver cloud, hybrid, and on-premises data solutions that simplify how people connect, manage, and analyze data. We transform business by enabling customers to make confident, data-driven decisions that accelerate their organization’s growth. Our data platform integrates seamlessly, performs reliably, and delivers at industry-leading speeds.