Databricks started life as a project in academic and open-source communities, growing out of the AMPLab project at the University of California. On its official launch in 2013, it became the world’s first lakehouse platform in the cloud. It remains the only solution of this type today.
By combining the best aspects and capabilities of data warehouses and data lakes, Databricks provides an open and unified platform for analytics and AI. Its web-based solution for working with Apache Spark — a unified analytics engine for big data and machine learning – was transformational in bringing reliability to data lakes for machine learning and other advanced data science uses.
Today, Databricks is trusted by over 7,000 organisations around the world to enable massive-scale data engineering, full-lifecycle machine learning, business analytics and collaboration across data sciences. High-profile customers include ABN AMRO, Condé Nast, Regeneron and Shell.
Along with its headquarters in San Francisco, Databricks has 28 global locations across the US and South America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Its team of over 4,000 employees work with hundreds of partners from Microsoft and Amazon to Capgemini and Booz Allen to simplify and democratise complex technology.
Such is its global success that Databricks has received numerous prestigious accolades over the years. It is a Gartner Leader in both Cloud Database Management and Data Science and Machine Learning. It also features in Forbes’s AI 50 and Cloud 100 lists and was named one of the Most Innovative Companies in the World by Fast Company.
As well as rewards and recognition, Databricks’ phenomenal success is reflected in its financials. Over its ten-year lifespan, the company has raised USD 3.5bn over ten funding rounds, reaching a valuation of USD 38bn in 2022. Annual revenues for the same year topped an incredible USD 1bn, up from USD 600m in 2021.
Launched in 2010, Azure rose quickly to become the cloud platform of choice for most organisations around the world. The Microsoft solution has almost one billion users and is trusted by 95% of the Fortune 100. Globally, Azure’s cloud computing market share stands at 21%.
Originally developed to provide access, management, and development of applications and services through global data centres, it has expanded to include more than 200 products with thousands of capabilities from software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) support to AI and machine learning (ML).
Its Azure Machine Learning solutions are instrumental in bringing advanced, business-critical ML models to the mass market at scale. It is used by thousands of data scientists, developers, and engineers to build, deploy, and manage high-quality models faster and more reliably.
Azure Machine Learning is credited with making the complex simple. It allows users to evaluate ML models with reproducible and automated workflows to assess model fairness, explainability, error analysis, causal analysis, model performance, exploratory data analysis and much more – capabilities that were, until its launch, out of reach for all but the largest data science and analytics organisations.
Microsoft is committed to rolling out Azure to as many markets and territories as possible. In 2018, it was the first primary cloud provider to open a facility in Africa, bringing its reach to 54 global regions. A year later, Microsoft announced the establishment of two new cloud regions in the UAE to make it easier for businesses here to further embrace the opportunities of cloud technologies.
Such is its international reach and continued adoption that Azure generated around USD 75bn of Microsoft’s 198bn annual revenues in 2022.
The platform that would become Amazon Web Services (AWS) started life as an in-house development project in the early 2000s. Amazon set out to scale its engineering capabilities and speed up the improvement of its operating software.
By 2002, the idea of an ‘internet operating system’ was born. In 2003, AWS released its first web services solution, opening up the platform to developers beyond Amazon. The platform quickly evolved to include database, storage and computing capabilities and just four years later, its first ground-breaking release, Amazon S3 cloud storage, was available to all.
Today, the AWS portfolio includes over 200 services from data centres worldwide. It is the most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform in the world, supporting millions of customers, from startups to multinational conglomerates and government agencies.
More recently, AWS has been leading the charge in the widespread adoption of AI-powered technologies. Its pre-trained AI Services provide ready-made intelligence and can be easily integrated with in-house applications.
By far the most transformational benefit of AWS AI Services is that it does not require machine learning experience. Essentially, AWS has put advanced, continuously-learning APIs in the hands of its users, whatever their technical capabilities.
AWS’s global market domination has seen it recognised as a Gartner Leader for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services for 12 years in a row. It is also credited as being the most flexible and secure cloud environment, with more services and customers than any other provider.
This global reach translates to out-of-this-world revenues of USD 80bn in 2022, with an operating income of USD 22.8bn. Here in the UAE, the recent establishment of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is estimated to support 6,000 jobs and bring over AED 20bn in investment to the country.