Databricks Review

Very elastic, easy to scale, and a straightforward setup


What is our primary use case?

We work with clients in the insurance space mostly. Insurance companies need to process claims. Their claim systems run under Databricks, where we do multiple transformations of the data. 

What is most valuable?

The elasticity of the solution is excellent.

The storage, etc., can be scaled up quite easily when we need it to.

It's easy to increase performance as required.

The solution runs on Spark very well.

What needs improvement?

Instead of relying on a massive instance, the solution should offer micro partition levels. They're working on it, however, they need to implement it to help the solution run more effectively.

They're currently coming out with a new feature, which is Date Lake. It will come with a new layer of data compliance.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't see any issues with stability going down to the cluster. It would certainly be fine if it's maintained. It's highly available even if things are dropped. It will still be up and running. I would describe it as very reliable. We don't have issues with crashing. There aren't bugs and glitches that affect the way it works.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The system is extremely scalable. It's one of its greatest features and a big selling point. If a company needs to scale or expand, they can do so very easily.

We require daily usage from the solution even though we don't directly work with Databricks on a day to day basis. Due to the fact that we schedule everything we need and it will trigger work that needs to be done, it's used often. Do you need to log into the database console every day? No. You just need to configure it one time and that's it. Then it will deliver everything needed in the time required.

How are customer service and technical support?

We use Microsoft support, so we are enterprise customers for them. We raise a service request for Databricks, however, we use Microsoft. Overall, we've been satisfied with the support we've been given. They're responsive to our needs.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We work with multiple clients and this solution is just one of the examples of products we work with. We use several others as well, depending on the client.

It's all wrappers between the same underlying systems. For example, Spark. It's all open-source. We've worked with them as well as the wrappers around it, whether the company was labeled Databrary, IBM insights, Cloudera, etc. These wrappers are all on the same open-source system.

If we with Azure data, we take over Databricks. Otherwise, we have to create a VM separately. Those things are not needed because Azure is already providing those things for us.

How was the initial setup?

The situation may have been a bit different for me than for many users or organizations. I've been in this industry for more than 15 or 17 years. I have a lot of experience. I also took the time to do some research and preparation for the setup. It was straightforward for me.

The deployment with Microsoft usually can be done in 20 minutes. However, it can take 40 to 45 minutes to complete. An organization only requires one person to upload the data and have complete access to the account.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed the solution myself. I didn't require any assistance, so I didn't enlist any resellers or consultants to help with the process.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is expensive. It's not like a lot of competitors, which are open-source.

What other advice do I have?

There isn't really a version, per se. 

It's a popular service. I'd recommend the solution. The solution is cloud-agnostic right now, so it really can go into any cloud. It's the users who will be leveraging installed environments that can have these services, no matter if they are using Azure or Ubiquiti, or other systems.

I don't think you can find any other tool or any other service that is faster them Databricks. I don't see that right now. It's your best option.

Overall, I'd rate the solution eight out of ten. The reason I'm not giving it full marks is that it's expensive compared to open source alternatives. Also, the configuration is difficult, so sometimes you need to spend a couple of hours to get it right.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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