Data Republic facilitates 'diplomatic' data sharing on AWS

Australia's Data Republic has created a place for data insights to be shared without the need to move data.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Data Republic has announced its "diplomatic zone" -- a location for analytics to take place without that data ever leaving the cloud.

With the first iteration of its Customer Cloud Suite available on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the new offering allows users to link existing Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) data stores to Data Republic Projects, and deploy quarantined analytics workspaces on their existing AWS environment.

The Customer Cloud Suite is touted as making it possible to facilitate multi-party data sharing projects without needing to move, transform, or load data outside of the organisation's own secured AWS environments.

Data Republic CEO Danny Gilligan said this capability gives companies the chance to accelerate data innovation while reducing risk and information security overheads.

"Using the Customer Cloud Suite there is no load, no transformation, and no movement of data when collaborating with a partner via Data Republic," he said. "All data access and analysis is secured and controlled in your existing AWS account.

"It's our goal to make it simpler and more secure for organisations to perform data collaboration projects."

See also: Top cloud providers 2019: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud; IBM makes hybrid move; Salesforce dominates SaaS

Speaking with ZDNet, Gilligan said the new offering comes as a result of the company wanting to connect the right data source with the right people to solve the right problems.

"Our view of what's missing to enable data to flow like money, if you will, the same trust, liquidity, confidence is what we call banking infrastructure for data -- so how do we create the kind of technology tools that give people confidence in sharing data to solve problems," he explained.

An example of where the Customer Cloud Suite is a suitable offering is for startups testing out an idea.

According to Gilligan, for a small startup wanting access to a large enterprise's data to prove out an idea, there's often a year-long legal and security risk process they need to move through before they can get their hands on anything useful.

"In the networked infrastructure that we have, for those organisations who are already partners with Data Republic -- [who] have all signed the same legal framework, and are all utilising the same infrastructure -- we can potentially enable the provisioning of that startup's capability inside the enterprise's data and their private cloud within a matter of days," he said.

"Think of us as a confidence membrane or a governance membrane sitting between the startup and the enterprise."

The usual challenge in those situations, Gillian explained, is an enterprise not being comfortable with giving the startup access to its raw data outside of its control, and the startup is often not comfortable with handing over its intellectual property.

"So we sit between them in a diplomatic zone," he said.

"Minimising the flow of raw data wherever possible, but where data needs to move to be joined we provide them with the opportunity to determine the diplomatic zone that it takes place."

AWS is the first deployment of this capability, as a lot of Data Republic's enterprise customers utilise AWS. But Gilligan said the company's plan is to replicate that for every environment, such as Google and Azure, but also for on-premises.

"What that means is we're looking at infrastructure layers like Equinix for instance and figuring out how can we deliver the same capability," he explained.

While the new offering is available initially to customers in APAC, Gilligan said given the company is using AWS, it could be replicated in any domain.

See also: Amazon Web Services: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Data Republic -- an Australian startup turned scale-up -- started life with a view of being a marketplace or the central location where enterprises would bring data, list it, and make it available for organisations that needed to build on that data.

But the company has since evolved.

"We learned a lot of interesting things down that path about what works and doesn't work about that dynamic," Gilligan told ZDNet.

He said that even if an enterprise is comfortable with public cloud security, there's still a resistance to wanting to remove data.

"We kind of agree philosophically with this idea that [personal information] should never leave an organisation and data should never leave -- minimise the flow of raw data and maximise the flow of the output that comes from that," he said.

"Customer Cloud Suite is the first step for us in driving our architecture -- let's enable analytics to happen on an enterprise startup in a governed way, and sharing happen without that enterprise's data ever leaving the AWS private cloud."

According to Gilligan, the company has made a material transition from a concept of a marketplace to a concept of network enterprise software.

"Strategically I'd say we learned a lot about whether the world is ready for the concept of a marketplace in relation to data and where we see more value is giving enterprise the tools and controls that they need to conduct data sharing in the terms that they see fit."


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