The analytics ecosystem became a little more crowded today after a startup called Cazena Inc. exited stealth with $20 million in funding and a new service that promises to help organizations harness their data cheaper and more effectively than the competition. It’s the same pitch everybody else is touting, but the value proposition goes much deeper and longer back.
The Massachusetts-based Cazena is the brainchild of former executives from Netezza, a maker of data warehousing appliances that was acquired by IBM Corp. in 2010, who reunited two years ago to try and repeat their success in the cloud. The startup is something of a contradiction of their previous work focused on removing the need for organizations to buy the on-premise systems that their former company sold.
But much more relevant is the fact that Cazena is hardly the first aiming for that goal. Another cloud-based data warehousing provider called Snowflake Computing Inc. raised $45 million in a found round of its own only last month, while Amazon Inc. has been offering a native alternative as part of its dominant infrastructure-as-a-service platform for years.
Cazena hopes to set itself apart from the pack with “workload intelligence” that can automatically determine what’s the best technology with which to handle a certain dataset. Real-time streams of social media activity, for instance, might be relegated to the speedy Apache Spark, while more structured information like transaction records would be stored in a relational system.
The mix-and-match approach represents a fairly significant departure from alternatives that Cazena’s high-profile founders and its equally notable investors bet will help differentiate its platform. And just to sweeten the offering even further, the startup is also throwing connectors for popular on-premise systems (Netezza presumably among them) into the mix to let organizations easily move their records into its cloud.
That information can be kept in its native variable form, sorted and harmonized for fast processing like in a traditional data warehouse or put inside a “sandbox” where developers and analysts can carry out their work. The new $20 million in funding from Formation 8 and existing backers Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venture Partners will help the startup drive interest around those three use cases.