Databricks adds support for Google Cloud as it prepares to go public

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Ali Ghodsi, co-founder and chief executive officer of Databricks Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg Technology television interview in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Databricks said Wednesday its software for storing and analyzing large data sets is becoming available on Google’s public cloud.

The launch opens up a new channel of growth for a company aiming to be ready for an initial public offering this year. Simultaneously, Google gains access to a trendy piece of software that was previously available only through its top two U.S. cloud rivals, Amazon and Microsoft.

Databricks has also refined its software to make it possible for clients to take systems running on Google’s cloud and move them to their on-premises servers with minimal effort, co-founder and CEO Ali Ghodsi said in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday. Historically, Databricks has only been available as a cloud-based service.

“We’ve been pushed by customers to do this for years,” he said.

To get there, Databricks worked with Google engineers to modify its software so it can run inside a virtual container, a lightweight alternative to the more traditional virtual machine software pioneered by VMware. The software will run atop a Google cloud service based on Kubernetes, a container-management tool that Google released under an open-source license in 2014.

Kubernetes abstracts away the underlying computing infrastructure, freeing up programmers to do more innovative work, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said.

The arrival of Databricks in Google’s cloud marketplace could cause an uptick in consumption of computing and storage resources on the Google cloud, which lags behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Snowflake, whose software stores a variety of data, added support for Google’s cloud in 2019, ahead of its 2020 initial public offering.

“We drive billions in revenue to the cloud vendors, so they need us,” Ghodsi said in an interview earlier this month. ‘We’re the killer app.” Organizations rely on Databricks to process lots of different kinds of data, so that it can be used in applications or explored in data-analytics tools such as Google-owned Looker.

Databricks and Google first started discussing a collaboration two years ago. Ghodsi said he spoke with Kurian the week that he joined Google, replacing former VMware CEO Diane Greene.

“Google is transformed after he joined,” Ghodsi said. “We see even the same team members we worked with before, just the sort of cadence and execution ability has changed dramatically, and it’s awesome to see.”

CapitalG, a corporate venture division within Google parent company Alphabet, participated in Databricks’ most recent funding round, which was announced earlier this month. Databricks had been in discussions with CapitalG for over a year, Ghodsi said.

Databricks exceeded $425 million in annualized recurring revenue in the 2021 fiscal year, up 75% year over year, Ghodsi said. The company has over 1,800 employees, according to LinkedIn.

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