Google Cloud Looker Gets Microsoft Azure Support, Other New Features


Google Cloud has added support for Microsoft Azure hosting to Looker, its enterprise platform for business intelligence, data applications, and integrated analytics.

New support aligns with Google Cloud’s multi-cloud position and is part of new Looker features added today to help organizations create rich data-driven experiences at scale and products faster. data, and expand their knowledge into more business areas with packaged analytics, according to Pedro Arellano, Google Cloud’s director of outbound product management for Looker.

Looker already supported hosting on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in addition to Google Cloud.

“Most organizations have data stored in more than one database and spread across multiple cloud or on-premises providers,” Arellano said in a blog post today. “By hosting Looker in the cloud of their choice, organizations can improve performance, consolidate cloud deployments, meet compliance requirements, and better integrate analytics into their cloud strategy.

Looker support for Microsoft Azure hosting creates a new, more flexible environment to help determine the best landing zone for data integration with monetization, according to Paul Lewis, chief technology officer at Pythian Services, a New York-based data, analytics and cloud services company. which this week won Google Cloud’s 2020 Specialization Partner of the Year award for data management.

“All customers will have a diverse deployment model that will include multiple clouds with third parties and even at the edge, above their data center,” said Lewis.

There is now a need to think beyond traditional business intelligence (BI) and traditional data visualization and dashboards, according to Arellano.

“While dashboards remain important and we continue to invest in Looker’s data visualization capabilities, they are not the whole story,” he said. “Information workers need data-rich experiences tailored to the way they already work. These experiences involve using data as the fuel for data-driven enterprise workflows to fuel digital experiences that enhance the value of existing applications and to create data-driven products that increase engagement, conversions and advocacy by improving the customer experience and opening up opportunities for data monetization. “

Google Cloud finalized its $ 2.6 billion acquisition of Looker in February 2020. It now refers to Looker as Looker 21, with the number “21” referring to that year. In January, it announced it was simplifying the version numbering of its products to align with calendar years. Looker 7.x has therefore switched to Looker 21.x.

New Looker Development Portal and Extension Framework

Google Cloud has designed a new Looker Developer Portal, slated to go live in the first week of August, as a new single hub for developers. The portal consolidates Looker’s development resources, including documentation, tutorials, code samples, and samples, and makes them easier to find. Portal resources include overview guides and tutorials for Looker APIs and SDKs, Integration, Components, Looker Action Hub, New Extension Framework, and Looker Marketplace. The portal also serves as Looker’s new community home where developers can engage, ask questions, and learn about upcoming events.

According to Lewis, monetizing data is the key to implementing a digital transformation program, whether it’s creating operational efficiency, introducing new business models or delivering a customer experience on measured.

“The new Looker Development Portal allows developers to fully focus on getting information from an organization’s data park, creating new value from those gold nuggets while relieving them of the burden. repetitive developmental activities, ”he said.

As part of the new portal, Google Cloud added a Looker extension framework that it says handles some of the more tedious aspects of building web apps.

“It reduces developer friction in managing hosting, security, and DevOps, so developers can focus only on creating a great user experience and have confidence that delivering it won’t be a problem,” he said. said Arellano.

The development framework reduces the effort and complexity of building custom JavaScript applications and data tools, including an organization’s internal platform applications; external platforms for their clients, such as integrated analytics portals; applications built with data in Looker, internal targeted tools; and applications to be integrated into external applications.

Headquartered in Santa Cruz, Calif., 4 Mile Analytics, specializing in delivering services on the Looker platform, used the Extension Framework to compare metrics between slices of a dataset, enabling its users ask questions and get information from their data.

“Using the Looker Extension Framework has been a game-changer for us,” said 4 Mile CEO Nick Fogler. “We are able to rapidly develop and deploy applications. We don’t have to worry about authentication (and) hosting, and are able to match the look of the Looker platform, saving us time on front-end development.

Other new features

Other new features in Looker include new, incremental Persistent Derived Tables (PDTs) that allow data teams to reduce database load and increase query performance.

API Explorer provides an interactive way to explore the Looker API, prototype queries, and execute complex API calls without writing code. It provides detailed product documentation and developer resources such as interactive features and language-specific information.

“As application architecture models evolve into highly scalable, loosely coupled micro-services, the implementation and use of complex APIs becomes paramount,” said Lewis of Pythian. “Unfortunately, using and implementing many APIs can get cumbersome, creating implementations that don’t perform well. API Explorer allows the development team to not only research the use of the variety of APIs available, but also to create MVP versions of an application according to their exact needs. This will lead to a significant improvement in extensibility.

New Looker filter components allow developers to embed the filters they declare on any dashboard in Looker into any app or built-in plugin. They can connect directly to a Looker dashboard and will be updated when changes are made to the filter in Looker. The filter components reduce application maintenance and overhead for developers, bringing analysts closer to product development and improving the interaction between users and their data, according to Google Cloud.

Google Cloud also introduced a cloud cost management solution for Looker that enables FinOps professionals to manage spend between cloud providers with out-of-the-box BI and reporting capabilities. It allows for easier and faster identification of costly outliers and global slow-burning inefficiencies. Analysis and cost management blocks on Google Cloud Platform, AWS, and Microsoft Azure are available on Looker Marketplace.

A new native Looker mobile app for iOS and Android is now available to everyone, allowing customers to get information on their mobile devices. The app, available in 22 languages, supports biometric authentication such as facial or touch identification.

“Data is now both created and consumed at the edge,” Lewis said. “Operational workers, information workers, essential workers and executives have moved from consuming information in the office to consuming from remote environments through multiple devices such as phones, tablets and laptops. The Looker mobile app extends the company’s knowledge base into the hands of every employee, anywhere, anytime, while maintaining the necessary controls over intellectual property.

And Looker’s Trendlines feature is also now available, allowing users to easily create trendlines from the Y Axis menu in the Explorer interface and view a trend for all of their data points over a period of time. time. According to Google Cloud, trend lines are now supported by the vega statistics library for more consistent results across a wide variety of data.

Forrester study commissioned by Google on Looker

A report by Forrester Consulting on Looker’s Total Economic Impact – commissioned by Google Cloud in June and based on Forrester interviews with six Looker customers – found that customers switching to Looker have reduced their reliance on Looker. BI teams for at least 99% analysis. Customers increased the value of their average sales by 26% and reduced the churn rate by 7% due to their ability to embed analytics into their own products, according to the report.

“Before using Looker, customers struggled with data workflows that required a strong involvement of technical teams; the inability to effectively create and manage their own in-house analysis solutions; security concerns related to the provision of data to external parties; and data chaos resulting from the lack of a common language for metrics and limited confidence in their data tools, ”Forrester said in the report. “These challenges have increased internal costs and lengthened the time it takes to generate business value from various data use cases. “

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