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Microsoft Buys BlueTalon To Bolster Azure Data Governance Solutions

Microsoft on Monday announced the acquisition of BlueTalon, a provider of data governance and compliance solutions.

Terms of the deal weren't described, but the Redwood City, Calif.-based BlueTalon's "technology and team" have already joined the Azure Data Governance Group at Microsoft, according to an announcement by Eric Tilenius, BlueTalon's CEO.

BlueTalon lays claim to building the "first truly Unified Data Access Control solution to govern on-premises data estates." The control happens via BlueTalon's Policy Engine, which adds policy management across enterprise relational database management systems and Big Data (Hadoop) implementations (see chart).

BlueTalon Policy Engine used to enforce data compliance for organizations using Hadoop (HDFS) and relational database management systems. (Source: BlueTalon's Web site)

The Policy Engine adds "fine-grained" control over access to the data, according to BlueTalon's product description, plus it adds an auditing capability.

Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president of Azure Data, talked about the acquisition in terms of addressing the sprawl of so-called "data estates." Data estates apparently are the mix of stored data that organizations can exploit, if they have the proper governance controls in place. Here's how Kumar described it:

Data estates are increasingly diverse with fit-for-purpose systems (NoSQL, RDBMs, Data Lakes & Big Data, SaaS apps, etc.) spanning on-premises and cloud environments capable of processing data of all shapes and sizes. This rapid evolution has empowered data professionals including data engineers, data scientists and data analysts to do much more, but at the same time has vastly increased the size and diversity of data estates, making data management and governance harder than ever. 

Organizations wanting to use such data can face complexities, such as restrictions set by the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Kumar noted. They need a simpler approach, and "BlueTalon provides a customer-proven, data-centric solution for data access management and auditing across the diverse systems resident in modern data estates," he explained.

Last year, Microsoft described a bunch of its own Azure tools that are designed to help organizations meet the compliance requirements of the GDPR, but apparently more is needed. Kumar said that the BlueTalon acquisition would support enterprises "to digitally transform while ensuring right use of data with centralized data governance at scale through Azure."

The "data estate" term seems to have become a Microsoft marketing term. It already has its own Microsoft landing page.

Kumar had talked about the data estate late last year in this Microsoft video. The data estate term also was highlighted this year by Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president for AI Business at Microsoft, in this LinkedIn post, where he contended that data was the "new oil" to be harvested by applications and AI solutions.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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