Integrating a modern big data and analytics platform with AWS services - Looker and Mortar

  • 28 March 2022
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This content, written by Kate Miller, was initially posted in Looker Blog on Jan 19, 2015. The content is subject to limited support.

This guest contribution was written by Kate Miller of AWS, and appeared originally on the .

The AWS platform enables companies across verticals to perform big data analytics and meet the challenges of the increasing volume, variety, and velocity of digital information. We work with a number of APN Partners who provide customers with value-added services and solutions that are deployed on the AWS platform, which then take the possibilities of big data analysis to another level for end users.

Two of our APN Technology Partners, Looker and Mortar Data, have taken it one step further: they’ve identified how their solutions, in conjunction with AWS, could be complementary, and they’ve worked together to deliver a modern big data and analytics platform, leveraging AWS Services such as Amazon Redshift and Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR). The result is an innovative solution for end customers that combines Looker’s browser-based business intelligence platform, Mortar’s platform for big data processing and analysis, and the scalability, agility, and cost-effectiveness of the AWS platform.

About Looker and Mortar

Looker, based in Santa Cruz, CA, has developed a modern Business Intelligence (BI) platform that enables organizations to consistently define and transform their data in infinite ways to find the maximum value as easily as possible, and to make data discovery accessible across the entire organization, on any browser or any device.

Mortar Data, based in New York, NY, has developed a platform for building high-scale data applications and pipelines. They enable customers to connect all of their data sources, apply any transformations or algorithms, and then, with one command, ship the entire scalable workload to production.

Why work together?

Both Looker and Mortar have taken a proactive approach to helping solve the often complex nature of big data analysis for companies. “The modern data management landscape has dramatically changed from the old era of traditional ETL, data warehousing, static reporting, and slow time to analytics. The new landscape is developing because the problems of modern businesses weren’t around 10 years ago, and the expectations around access to data are more demanding than ever before. Our customers have started using AWS, Mortar, and Looker because they need to work with companies that have built their technologies specifically for these problems – unparalleled data access and discovery, operationalization of big data, and the leveraging of cloud computing performance and economics,” said Keenan Rice, VP of Alliances at Looker.

As Looker and Mortar both worked to develop solutions that leveraged the AWS Cloud to enable customers to effectively analyze and utilize their data, they found a number of synergies in their offerings. K Young, CEO of Mortar explained, “Mortar is often used to operationalize data collection from one or several data stores or applications, then clean it, prepare it, combine it, and then load it into an Amazon Redshift data warehouse as new data is available. Not only does Mortar’s platform automate complex data movement and transformations, but it’s built for the modern data landscape so it can operate effectively on large, diverse sets of data from many different data sources. Once the data platform is in place, most companies need to investigate the data visually— interactively and/or through dashboards.”

Young continued, “Looker is cloud-native, renders properly on any device, and it allows non-technical users to investigate data in novel ways, without making mistakes with the data. From Mortar’s perspective, Looker perfectly completes the customer use case, which is to use data to make fully informed decisions and get high-value insights. From Looker’s perspective, Mortar dramatically speeds the time to solution and makes incoming data—and the decisions made based on that data—highly reliable.”

Working with the AWS Platform

Both companies have worked as APN Partners for over two years, and have developed individual offerings on the AWS platform. For both, the speed of deployment and the resources available on the AWS platform, along with the cost-effectiveness of AWS provided them the infrastructure and the tools required to help customers effective deploy a scalable big data analytics solution.

In discussing the benefit of building on AWS, Rice explained, “In addition to AWS enabling very fast time to market and uncapped scalability for our joint solution, we often leverage Amazon Redshift as our point of integration. Having the automation and scale of the AWS Cloud plus the availabilities of all the services our joint solution needs, from Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2) to Amazon Redshift, our customers are able to easily and cost effectively deploy a powerful big data analytics solution, quickly.”

Looker and Mortar utilize a number of AWS Products and Services to deploy their solutions on AWS, including:

  • – Looker’s analytics platform is deployed on a Medium to Large Amazon EC2 instance to power the web-based application. It can be deployed and managed in the Looker VPC or in a customer’s VPC. Mortar utilizes Amazon EC2 to run application services
  • – Mortar utilizes Amazon S3 for data ingestion
  • – Amazon SQS distributes workload coordination for Mortar
  • – Looker connects directly to the customer’s analytics infrastructure, utilizing the performance of Amazon Redshift to power the analytical workload for transforming and returning data to the Looker application for visualization
  • – “Similar to Amazon Redshift, our customers are also finding they can create very performant analytics stores in the other Amazon RDS services as well, such as MySQL, Postgres, MSSQL, Oracle, and Amazon Aurora,” said Rice
  • – As with Amazon RDS and Amazon Redshift, customers can utilize Looker’s Impala and Hive connectors to also analyze data directly in Amazon EMR. Amazon EMR is also utilized by Mortar for high-scale processing and data transformation

The benefit for end users

According to Rice, “Combining Looker’s modern approach to data discovery and analytics with Mortar Data’s cloud platform for high-scale data applications and pipelines enables organizations to harness their organization’s data to exact maximum value from it – without having to understand the myriad of individual big data technologies.”

Through their combined solution on AWS, Looker and Mortar enable organizations to:

  • Organize, transform, combine, and move large complex sets of data to be ready for analysis in modern databases like Amazon Redshift
  • Enable any employee to have the ability to explore, visualize, and collaborate on the data they should have access to, with the highest resolution of details. Data may be investigated in novel ways correctly and easily, even by non-technical users
  • Manage an end-to-end platform that’s built for big data scale, enterprise requirements, and modern analytics needs

Additionally, end users experience:

  • Fast, interactive querying, leveraging all available data sources
  • Visualizations that render well on any device
  • A fast time to solution
  • A reduced maintenance cost

Next steps

Rice and Young both spoke to the success their customers have seen in utilizing their joint solution. “We are introducing each other to fully prequalified customers, and our joint solution results in happier customers,” said Young. “We plan to mutually continue introductions to customers that will benefit from our joint solution.”

To learn more about the success customers have experienced working with both Looker and Mortar on AWS, take a look at the following success story:

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