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Ahana Cloud Inc., which offers managed and commercial versions of the Presto open-source distributed query engine, today announced an additional investment of $7.2 million from Liberty Global Ventures BV with participation from existing investor GV Management Co LLC.

The funding expands the company’s Series A financing to $27.2 million and total funding to $32 million.

At the same time, Ahana is releasing a community edition of its cloud platform that it says will be free forever to everyone. The Ahana Cloud for Presto Community Edition is intended to be fast to deploy and easy to manage with simple, distributed Presto cluster provisioning and out-of-the-box configurations.

The company hopes the community edition will be an on-ramp to its Ahana Cloud for Presto managed service. That service includes auto-scaling and additional security features such as integration with Apache Ranger and Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Lake Formation, faster performance and enterprise-level support.

“A lot of customers will use this for free forever and that’s great,” said Steven Mih (pictured), Ahana’s co-founder and chief executive, “but they can get up and running in Presto much easier and grow their use cases when they convert to a paid subscription.”

Ahana positions Presto as a core element of a “lakehouse,” which is a repository for data analytics that includes both structured and unstructured data types. “The modern data stack is extremely complicated,” Mih said.  “In the cloud, users have to configure Presto and other open-source components, add a metadata catalog and fine-tune the hundreds of knobs in a Presto cluster. Then they add their SQL editor or business intelligence tool.”

30-minute installation

Presto has long been available as a downloadable open-source package, but the managed cloud version is available on a turnkey basis. “We want to make it much easier” to experiment with Presto, Mih said. “This is 30 minutes to be up and running with a starter SQL lakehouse.”

The community edition comes with a built-in Apache Hive metadata catalog and Apache Superset for data exploration and visualization. It supports open file formats such as Apache Parquet and data lake management like Apache Hudi. There are also preconfigured integrations to multiple data sources including the Hive Metastore for AWS’ S3, Amazon OpenSearch, Amazon RDS for MySQL, Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL and Amazon Redshift.

Ahana originally intended to offer support for just one cluster and up to five users on Amazon EC2 m5.2xlarge instances but has decided to lift the per-cluster user limit and expand to include all x86-based supported instances. The lakehouse runs in the customer’s account and accrues any related charges but “they get all this automation for free,” Mih said. “You sign up for a cloud account with the community edition and get a console that attaches your cloud to it. We handle the multitenant [software-as-a-service] front-end.

Liberty Global Ventures is the investment arm of Liberty Global plc, a $12 billion broadband, video and mobile communications services company. Ankur Prakash, a Liberty Global Ventures partner will join Ahana’s board as an observer. Mih said the firm will provide an important customer perspective to guide the company. “They bring end-user experience and their own data challenges,” he said. “By being an investor and board observer they bring that perspective to us.”

Ahana said we use the funding to continue to grow its technical and product development staff along with sales and marketing. Despite the currently difficult investment environment, Mih said, the company is continuing to hire.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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