The New Database

Ten people defining the new database landscape


These are the people helping corporations around the world collect, analyze and utilize the vast amounts of data powering the next generation of business.

This story is part of "The New Database," a Protocol special report. Read more here.

Benoit Dageville <span>Snowflake</span>

Co-founder and president, Snowflake

There's speculation (though not always from the most independent of sources) that Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman, who also led ServiceNow through its successful public offering in 2012 then left in 2017, may soon move on. Should that happen, the company will need Dageville, who intimately understands the underlying tech, to guide Snowflake through the next phase of growth. Even if Slootman stays, the company is facing increasing competition from the cloud hyperscalers and other independent vendors. Dageville's leadership will be key in building rival products that further solidify Snowflake's position in the modern tech landscape.

Brooke Wenig <span> Databricks </span>

Machine learning practice lead, Databricks

Wenig's fingertips are all over Databricks's latest string of product announcements, like Databricks SQL. As the company continues to try to solidify itself as a leader in the future of enterprise AI, it will need to keep the product pipeline rolling. That means Wenig, who has been with the company since 2016, will have a critical role in the future of Databricks.

Rahul Pathak <span> AWS </span>

Vice president of analytics, AWS

Enterprises love to say they are data-driven, but the reality is many are struggling to make that transition, and they're turning to companies like AWS for help. That responsibility ultimately falls to Pathak, who oversees all the products that are enabling users to tap petabytes of data in a meaningful way, like Athena, Elasticsearch and Redshift.

Jocelyn Goldfein <span> Zetta Venture Partners </span>

Managing director, Zetta Venture Partners

Tech infrastructure is a field dominated by men. Women are rarely seen in the top ranks of many of the top providers, as well as the up-and-coming firms, but Goldfein is the exception. At Facebook, she helped create the machine-learning foundation for its news feed product. Goldfein also established the desktop division at VMware. Now, she's helping to fund the next generation of infrastructure companies.

Erica Schultz <span> Confluent </span>

President of field operations, Confluent

Confluent is gearing up for its IPO, and Schultz has been playing a key role in the preparation, according to industry insiders. The former chief revenue officer at New Relic, she's also poised to play a leading role in the company's evolving go-to-market strategy. For a startup still very much in growth mode, that's an important position and one that will give Schultz a lot of visibility both within the organization and among competitors.

Suresh Vittal <span> Alteryx </span>

Chief product officer, Alteryx

Earlier this month, Alteryx announced an expanded partnership with Snowflake. Customers of the data warehouse giant can now tap Alteryx's analytics capabilities, which means users will be able to run queries like sentiment analysis on their stored data. Vittal leads that effort and others, forging the types of partnerships that will be key as Alteryx looks to build up a customer base outside of its popular Designer product in areas like machine learning.

Andrew Davidson <span> MongoDB </span>

VP of cloud products, MongoDB

MongoDB successfully transitioned itself to the cloud, but continued innovation will be key to sustaining that. Much of that work falls to Davidson, who helped manage the launch of Atlas, which now encompasses the majority of MongoDB's overall revenue and oversees all its cloud portfolio. An eight-year veteran of the company, the continued success of MongoDB's cloud portfolio could help position Davidson for an even more prominent role within the organization in the future.

Spencer Kimball <span> Cockroach Labs </span>

Chief executive officer, Cockroach Labs

Cockroach Labs is one of several database startups that have attracted significant funding. But unlike others that are trying to popularize new types of storage systems like "data lakehouses," Cockroach Labs specializes in cloud-based databases for transactional data. While a smaller segment of the larger "big data" market, it's hugely important and requires its own set of security protocols and other considerations. But as more companies try to become full-service providers for all things data, Kimball has to prove that Cockroach Labs can thrive as a standalone company and provide value to customers that goes beyond rival vendors.

George Fraser <span> Fivetran </span>

CEO, Fivetran

Advocates of "data lakehouse" technology say it reduces the reliance on ETL vendors like Fivetran that specialize in taking data from various locations and moving it to the data warehouse to be analyzed. But that approach is far from the norm. And as Snowflake and BigQuery grow, Fivetran — which doubled customers and revenue in 2020 — is going to play an increasingly important role in the tech stack. And it'll be up to Fraser to execute accordingly.

Valliappa Lakshmanan <span> Google Cloud </span>

Director of data analytics and AI solutions, Google Cloud

Google falls behind rivals AWS and Microsoft when it comes to database sales, but it's gaining ground. BigQuery, for example, is often cited by industry experts as a key competitor to Snowflake. And as the company looks to further build out its analytics capabilities, Lakshmanan will be an influential voice. He's also making an impact on the next-generation of data scientists; Lakshmanan co-founded the Advanced Solutions Lab at Google Cloud.

Images provided by respective employers.

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