Jun
10
2019
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Qubole launches Quantum, its serverless database engine

Qubole, the data platform founded by Apache Hive creator and former head of Facebook’s Data Infrastructure team Ashish Thusoo, today announced the launch of Quantum, its first serverless offering.

Qubole may not necessarily be a household name, but its customers include the likes of Autodesk, Comcast, Lyft, Nextdoor and Zillow . For these users, Qubole has long offered a self-service platform that allowed their data scientists and engineers to build their AI, machine learning and analytics workflows on the public cloud of their choice. The platform sits on top of open-source technologies like Apache Spark, Presto and Kafka, for example.

Typically, enterprises have to provision a considerable amount of resources to give these platforms the resources they need. These resources often go unused and the infrastructure can quickly become complex.

Qubole already abstracts most of this away, offering what is essentially a serverless platform. With Quantum, however, it is going a step further by launching a high-performance serverless SQL engine that allows users to query petabytes of data with nothing else but ANSI-SQL, giving them the choice between using a Presto cluster or a serverless SQL engine to run their queries, for example.

The data can be stored on AWS and users won’t have to set up a second data lake or move their data to another platform to use the SQL engine. Quantum automatically scales up or down as needed, of course, and users can still work with the same metastore for their data, no matter whether they choose the clustered or serverless option. Indeed, Quantum is essentially just another SQL engine without Qubole’s overall suite of engines.

Typically, Qubole charges enterprises by compute minutes. When using Quantum, the company uses the same metric, but enterprises pay for the execution time of the query. “So instead of the Qubole compute units being associated with the number of minutes the cluster was up and running, it is associated with the Qubole compute units consumed by that particular query or that particular workload, which is even more fine-grained,” Thusoo explained. “This works really well when you have to do interactive workloads.”

Thusoo notes that Quantum is targeted at analysts who often need to perform interactive queries on data stored in object stores. Qubole integrates with services like Tableau and Looker (which Google is now in the process of acquiring). “They suddenly get access to very elastic compute capacity, but they are able to come through a very familiar user interface,” Thusoo noted.

 

Nov
20
2018
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Autodesk agrees to buy PlanGrid for $875 million

Autodesk announced plans to acquire PlanGrid for $875 million today. The San Francisco startup helped move blueprints from paper to the iPad when it launched in 2011.

This digitization of construction fits with Autodesk’s vision of digitizing design in general, and CEO Andrew Anagnost certainly recognized the transformational potential of the company he was buying. “There is a huge opportunity to streamline all aspects of construction through digitization and automation. The acquisition of PlanGrid will accelerate our efforts to improve construction workflows for every stakeholder in the construction process,” he said in a statement.

The company, which is a 2012 graduate of Y Combinator, raised just $69 million, so this appears to be a healthy exit for the them. PlanGrid took what was a paper-intensive task and shifted it to digital, taking a world of hand-written mark-ups and sticky notes onto the fledgling iPad.

In an interview with CEO and co-founder Tracy Young in 2015 at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, she said the industry was ripe for change. “The heart of construction is just a lot of construction blueprints information. It’s all tracked on paper right now and they’re constantly, constantly changing,” Young said at the time.

Those manual changes often resulted in errors she said, and that was costly for the contractors. As an engineer working for a construction company, who was at one time responsible for making the paper copies, she recognized that the process could be improved by moving it into the digital realm.

PlanGrid CEO Tracy Young onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in 2015

Her idea, which was kind of radical in 2011 when she started the company, was to move all that paper to the cloud and display it on an iPad. It’s important to remember that the enterprise was not rushing to the cloud in 2011, and most people considered the iPad at the time to be a consumer device, so what she and her co-founders were attempting was a true kind of industry transformation.

Young sees joining Autodesk as a way to continue building on that early vision. “PlanGrid has excelled at building beautiful, simple field collaboration software, while Autodesk has focused on connecting design to construction. Together, we can drive greater productivity and predictability on the jobsite,” she said in a statement.

PlanGrid currently has 400 employees, 12,000 customers and 120,000 paid users, and has been used on over a million construction projects worldwide, according to data provided by the companies. They believe that under Autodesk’s umbrella and combined with their existing product set, they can provide a complete construction solution and grow the business faster than PlanGrid could have on its own — pretty much the standard argument in an acquisition like this.

PlanGrid was efficient with the money it took. In fact the last raise was $50 million almost exactly three years ago. The deal is expected to close at the end of January pending the normal regulatory approval process.

 

Nov
14
2017
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Dropbox partners with Autodesk to help users collaborate on large design files

 Dropbox announced a couple of products today to make it easier for Autodesk users to access and share large design files. The products include an integrated desktop app for opening and saving Autodesk files stored in Dropbox and an app for viewing design files without the need for owning Autodesk. These products are long overdue given that Dropbox’s Ross Piper, who is head of ecosystem… Read More

Jun
15
2016
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Autodesk looks to future with investments in 3D robotic drones and IoT as a service

3D Robotics Drone When you think of Autodesk, you probably think of desktop software and traditional manufacturing, but the company is trying hard to change that perception, and today it announced the first three investments from its $100 million Forge Fund, which includes a 3D robotics drone company, an on-demand machine shop service and a platform for building smart connected Internet of Things devices… Read More

Apr
10
2016
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Autodesk looks to future of 3D printing with Project Escher

3D printing a part with multiple nozzles. Like so many organizations these days, Autodesk is a company in transition. It was until recently a traditional boxed software company selling licenses. Today, it’s moving to a subscription model. Yet its own business model disruption is only part of the story. As a company steeped in the manufacturing design process, it’s seeing its customers looking to change as well — and… Read More

Feb
11
2016
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Facing An Array Of Challenges, Autodesk Shifts To Subscription Pricing

Autodesk loading dock. Autodesk has been around the block a few times, having debuted way back in 1982 in the earliest days of the desktop PC. These days, the company is in the midst of a major transition from a licensing model to a subscription model, while juggling the assortment of challenges a change like this brings to a mature company.
It would be wrong to characterize this is as a total cloud pivot, however. Read More

Dec
01
2015
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Autodesk Launches 3D Cloud Development Platform And A $100 Million Investment Fund

Cube with cloud picture on front. Autodesk is an old school software company, having launched in 1982 and gone public in 1990, but that doesn’t mean it’s too fixed in its ways to try something new. Today, the company is launching a new Platform as a Service it’s calling Forge.com and a $100 million fund to help prime the development pump.
It will essentially make 3D development and displaying available… Read More

Dec
01
2014
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Autodesk Software Now Free For Schools And Students Everywhere

autodesk The boxed copy sales model for professional software is dead, and increasingly companies are realizing that charging certain customers at all doesn’t make much sense. Microsoft figured it out, and Autodesk is expanding the pool of people who get free access to include all students, teachers and schools at academic institutions around the world. That’s in addition to the U.S., where… Read More

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