A Strategic Leap Forward: Cloudera Enhances AI Capabilities with Verta Acquisition

If you don’t keep moving, you die. The pace of development in data management and AI is so fast that you have to remain on the move if you don’t want to get left behind. Cloudera has acquired Verta, a machine-learning (ML) model management start-up, previously known as lesspainful.ai. Verta’s machine learning (ML) model management software is highly relevant if Cloudera wants to progress in the operational AI space. And it is: three-quarters of Verta’s customers are using ML models of more than 1 billion parameters. Lesspainful.ai’s customers include Snapdeal, a massive ecommerce company in India, Instacart, an online grocery retailer in the US, and Bazaar, the value fashion market in Germany and Austria. In its previous incarnation, lesspainful.ai had developed software to manage large language models (LLMs) – similar to the technology behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT generative AI – that can be applied in search, question-answering, text generation, and recommendation systems.

Cloudera's Journey: From Hadoop to AI

The Hadoop Era and Beyond

When Cloudera was founded in 2008, Hadoop was at the forefront of a surge in sales of more complicated and higher-priced data management technology. But a few years later, simplified and cheaper solutions started coming to the fore, and Hadoop had started to decline. Cloudera needed to evolve.

Embracing the Cloud

Acquisition of Verta isn’t Cloudera’s first big show of force. Just one year after its acquisition by private equity for $5.3 billion in 2021, the company made a big bet to focus on a SaaS data lakehouse, in an effort to compete directly with the cloud-native giants of recent years, Snowflake and Databricks, both of which had already started adding AI directly into their platforms.


AI: The Future of Data Management

In a blog announcing the acquisition, Charles Sansbury, the CEO of Cloudera, writes: ‘The way AI is headed, data management is going to be an integral operational component of any AI app in the future.’ This acquisition represents a key milestone in bringing operational AI capabilities into Cloudera’s product portfolio. It’s less about buying technology than buying into the AI-driven future of data management.

Talent and Technology Synergy

Vartak and Miranda, Verta’s co-founders and the company’s current CEO and CTO, respectively, will also bring talent to Cloudera. Vartak was one of the founding entrepreneurs at Matrix Partners India, and is a research alumnus of MIT CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory). Miranda previously served as the machine learning lead at Twitter. ‘We’re excited to see the slew of innovative ideas coming out of Verta; their work will serve as a catalyst for Cloudera’s AI growth,’ said Mateen Jalalpour, the head of AI at Cloudera.

Addressing the AI Talent Crunch

This acquisition is also an opportunity for Cloudera to tap into the dwindling supply of top-notch AI talent. Recruiting or retaining AI talent is a major obstacle for most companies, and this allows Cloudera to gain a strategic advantage in the race for AI supremacy.

Cloudera and Verta: A New Era of Data Management

Accelerating Operational AI Capabilities

With Verta, expected to be fully integrated into Cloudera’s Hadoop product by the second half of the year, the company will be able to turbo-charge its AI capabilities, not just to keep pace with the competition, but to lead it into the brave new world of operational AI.

Leveraging Large Language Models

Notably, the company’s emphasis on scaling to the very largest language models, like those used for generative AI, has created an urgent need for better management algorithms. As more companies adopt LLMs at scale, Verta’s transformation from model management to specialising in LLMs will serve Cloudera well.

Keeping Up with the Competition

Competing in the AI Landscape

And it demonstrates that today Cloudera isn’t just committed to competitively and competently contribute to the AI, data management future: it’s committed to leading it. Verta’s founders and technology are enthusiastic and eager to propel Cloudera to the forefront of next-generation AI. And with today’s announcement, it’s hard to argue against their optimism.

Embracing the Future

This is not a defensive move, but rather an expression of intention. Cloudera does not want to remain an ‘also-ran’. The acquisition of Verta is a new chapter of innovation dedicated to shaping the evolution of AI and data management, in other words reaffirming its future as a company and its commitment to lead.

Understanding the Move

The Move Toward AI

This deal shows the technology sector is moving in this direction – AI is being built into all data management strategies – because data repositories are becoming an increasingly important source of value for companies. As these companies try to squeeze more value out of their data, they are embracing AI, machine learning models and other similar technologies. Cloudera’s own AI capabilities are already highly developed, and the acquisition of Verta makes it more nimble in what will likely be the future of data management. The company isn’t just preparing for this future – it’s helping to shape it.

Jun 06, 2024
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