How Databricks Unity Catalog Helped Amgen Allow Information Governance at Enterprise Scale

This weblog authored publish by Jaison Dominic, Senior Supervisor, Info Programs at Amgen, and Lakhan Prajapati, Director of Structure and Engineering at ZS Associates.


Amgen, the world’s largest impartial biotech firm, has lengthy been synonymous with innovation. For 40 years, we have pioneered new drug-making processes and developed life-saving medicines, positively impacting the lives of tens of millions world wide.

Information and AI are pivotal to our enterprise technique. Recognizing the abundance of information inside our enterprise, our imaginative and prescient was to ascertain a data-driven group the place information analytics is made accessible by self-service governance capabilities. In our pursuit of modernization, we fastidiously chosen the Databricks Lakehouse Platform because the bedrock of our digital transformation journey. This strategic resolution has enabled us to unlock the true potential of our information and AI throughout varied departments, leading to streamlined operational effectivity and accelerated drug discovery. As we repeatedly enrich our information lake with various domains, together with restricted and delicate information, our affect expands even additional.

Moreover, we acknowledged the necessity for enhanced information governance to enhance our efforts. Our earlier information governance answer proved complicated, difficult to handle, and lacked fine-grained entry management. To deal with these obstacles and facilitate widespread adoption of our governance functionality inside the enterprise, we’ve got lately built-in the Databricks Unity Catalog into our governance processes. This integration represents a major milestone in our journey, bolstering information governance by offering a strong answer that’s each user-friendly and simplifies administration whereas providing granular entry management.

Right now, we’re sharing our progress and success up to now within the hopes that others can study from our journey and apply it to their very own enterprise methods.

Utilizing IAM roles for governance was tough to handle and lacked fine-grained entry controls

Amgen operates inside a extremely regulated business the place compliance is the cornerstone of our operations. We acknowledge the important significance of correct governance and auditability for any restricted or delicate information. Information democratization was the unique goal of our Enterprise information lake initiative, guaranteeing that every one Amgen customers have entry to the out there information. Nevertheless, the inclusion of delicate information within the information lake highlighted the necessity for extra sturdy information entry governance.

Beforehand, we relied on AWS Glue as an enterprise information catalog and AWS’s identification and entry administration (IAM) for role-based entry controls. This concerned creating separate IAM roles and associating them with particular clusters to cater to distinctive use circumstances. Nevertheless, managing quite a few teams and their related cluster assets independently posed vital challenges. Furthermore, IAM roles solely ruled entry to storage, leaving metadata accessible to all. The absence of fine-grained entry controls made auditing a posh job, hindering our capability to audit information entry and executed queries successfully.

To deal with these challenges, we acknowledged the necessity to transition to user-level entry and person attribute-based entry controls. For instance, customers can be assigned attributes similar to value facilities, and information inside Finance can be managed based mostly on the assigned value heart. Nevertheless, implementing user-attribute-based entry management by IAM roles would have required the creation of an unlimited variety of roles, posing a major administration burden.

We evaluated a number of off-the-shelf governance instruments. Whereas among the instruments met instant necessities, similar to managing tables on the database degree, they proved insufficient for extremely restricted information domains like EDW (Finance) and Workday (HR). Furthermore, we had considerations about bypassing these instruments on the Databricks cluster, creating potential vulnerabilities and guaranteeing complete protection throughout all clusters, and scaling the answer.  Moreover, sustaining plugins on selective clusters posed challenges by way of script consistency and ongoing upkeep.

Migrating to Unity Catalog simplified entry administration and eradicated noncompliance and safety incidents

At present, 90 % of our use circumstances are on Databricks. Provided that, we felt we would have liked a Databricks native governance answer for the long run. To start transferring in that route, we turned to Unity Catalog.

Adopting the Unity Catalog resulted in a number of instant advantages.

  • First, we did not must create or handle at the least 120+ IAM roles. We will management entry by Unity Catalog and the APIs Unity Catalog supplies. All the things is managed by entry management lists (ACLs) or dynamic views. In consequence, we went from a whole bunch of IAM roles to only one or two principal IAM function.
  • The second profit we realized is straightforward auditability. Enhancing Unity Catalog ACLs is far simpler than parsing IAM insurance policies after which figuring out who has what entry. This reduces the audit effort for the operate by 50%. The question historical past offers us the flexibility to see who accessed what information at what cut-off date.
  •  Unity Catalog is straightforward to handle. It is allowed us to maneuver away from devoted cluster-based entry to a shared cluster pool with the person and role-based entry controls, decreasing Databricks value by 10-20%.
  • It unifies all the things at a central place and permits seamless cross-functional information analytics and the tight integration with the Databricks ecosystem supplies true differentiation.

At present, we’ve got round ~500 objects mapped in Unity Catalog (and rising) and ruled by its ACLS. Since transferring to Unity Catalog we have a lot larger confidence in our information governance and adherence to compliance. As soon as we begin onboarding extra features, we anticipate these advantages to multiply.

Constructing additional on our Databricks Unity Catalog success

That is solely the preliminary stage of our journey. Now we have a much bigger imaginative and prescient forward and are diligently crafting a method that may propel us towards our purpose of migrating the vast majority of our information belongings from AWS Glue to the Unity Catalog. As our enterprise information panorama encompasses quite a few information domains, hundreds of databases, and tens of millions of objects, Unity Catalog is poised to turn out to be our default catalog. This strategic shift will streamline and unify our information ecosystem, enabling seamless administration and exploration of our in depth information assets.

We’ll use Unity Catalog’s information lineage options to reinforce observability, construct confidence in our information creation, and observe delicate information utilization throughout our information property. Moreover, we’re passionate about using Delta Sharing in Unity Catalog for exterior information sharing. Whereas we at the moment share information internally, we’re actively exploring the gathering and sharing of exterior information with a number of distributors by Delta Sharing.

In conclusion, the combination of the Unity Catalog has enhanced our capability to implement exact and complicated governance insurance policies for Amgen’s restricted information units, together with Finance and Workday. This outstanding achievement has sparked immense enthusiasm inside our information engineering division, resulting in elevated funding in our information platform, with Unity Catalog serving because the central Metastore and entry administration service. Waiting for the following 12 months, we anticipate that Unity Catalog will facilitate over 80% of utility information consumption at Amgen, benefiting our huge person base of over 10,000 energetic customers. With this shift, we’re poised to attain effectivity enhancements of 60-80% in auditing and entry administration, firmly positioning our firm for achievement as we proceed to develop our analytics choices.

Watch our presentation at Information and AI Summit 2023 to study extra.

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