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Startup Cazena talks up big data in the cloud at AWS re:Invent

Cazena, a stealth-mode startup founded by former Netezza executives, is looking to solve the pain points that many enterprises have with managing and analyzing big data in the cloud.

LAS VEGAS -- The mantra was on everybody's lips at AWS re:Invent 2014 this week: The cloud is no longer something enterprises are merely considering or poking around in. Now, said John Treadway, a senior vice president at Cloud Technology Partners Inc., organizations are asking, "How quickly, how fast, how do I manage it?"

"The saying that the cloud genie is out of the bottle, so you'd better start thinking what to wish for, is now true," Treadway said.

Still, as SearchDataManagement has been following closely of late, the forecast for big data in the cloud remains hazy, despite the fact that it's precisely the kind of business value big data can offer that makes it so tantalizing in combination with the virtually unlimited resources of platforms such as Amazon Web Services.

An interesting case in point is Cazena, a stealth-mode startup in Waltham, Mass., that involves some of the founders and other former top executives of Netezza, a data warehousing company that is now part of IBM. Cazena executives, including CEO Prat Moghe, were at re:Invent to discuss a new survey and report on -- what else? -- how enterprises will use the cloud for big data analytics. Cazena commissioned the report, which was co-written by Gigaom analysts Lynn Langit and Andrew Brust.

The bottom line of the report is that yes, enterprises are getting on board with managing big data in the cloud, but on their terms. According to Moghe, most companies want new big data platforms but also want to continue to use the same types of traditional business intelligence and analytics tools that they're comfortable with. "They don't want sexy data science," he said in an interview, adding that the survey shows many organizations "are exploring bread-and-butter analytics in the cloud."

It's a valid point. Users often can get lost in whiz-bang technology and forget what all the data is for -- to add value to the business and for customers. None of that should change simply because of where the data is located.

According to the report on the survey, "standard BI tools (55%) and analytics tools (49%) are the preferred tooling types for analytics projects that have been migrated to the cloud." The preference for sticking with familiar BI and analytics software isn't surprising, the report said: "Consistent with the general tone of the results in this survey, enterprises value minimal disruption and prefer reusing skills, tools and techniques whenever possible."

So what does Cazena plan to do? Prospective users will have to wait until early next year to find out for sure. The startup, which has raised $8 million in funding from venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venture Partners, is vague on what its view of big data in the cloud will translate into, but the signs point to a "big data as a service" offering. "Our vision," Moghe said, "is to ultimately make big data available on demand to folks who need it."

Scot Petersen is editorial director of SearchDataManagement. Email him at, and follow us on Twitter: @sDataManagement.

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