Databricks - An Introduction

1 minute read

I recently started learning about Databricks, a unified data analytics platform. The platform is large and this is a relatively new domain to me, so these are my introductory notes.

Databricks’ goal is to provide businesses with a single platform for cloud based data engineering. A single, scaleable, platform that can be used for data engineering, machine learning, analytics, and collaboration.

The platform is composed of multiple components; each targeting a different problem.

  1. Data Science Workspace
  2. Unified Data Service
  3. Enterprise Cloud Service

Data Science Workspace

A workspace that supports the entire machine learning lifecycle, by allowing different data practioners to work within the same space. This helps to minimise compatibility issues between tools and technologies.
The collaborative notebooks support a variety of languages, provide visualisations, are shareable, and support scheduling.
A managed MLFlow offering allows you to run, track, and deploy experiments without concern for scalability or reliability.

Unified Data Service

A platform that allows practioners to scaleably ingest data from a number of sources, to define and run pipelines on that data, and to build reliable data lakes.
This is composed of the Databricks Runtime, an engine built atop an optimized Apache Spark, and Delta Lake, reliable lifecycle management for data lakes.
There are a huge variety of integrators built that allow you to easily ingest data from not only databases, but also from applications (Google Analytics, Stripe, MailChimp) and filestorage (Dropbox, S3 etc).

Enterprise Cloud Service

Production-ready, enterprise level administration that can be deployed to AWS or Azure. Full operational visibility across usage, billing, audit trails etc.

The Databricks Academy, where I am learning, offers self-paced learning and cert’ing. There are a range of courses covering topics such as Apache Spark, ETL, and Machine Learning. That being said, they all look quite expensive, so unless your company provides you with a training budget, they might be cost prohibitive.