Analyst Coverage: Philip Howard and Daniel Howard
CloverDX is a software vendor that was founded in 2007 and has offices in the US, the UK, and the Czech Republic. Although it was originally oriented around consultancy, it has since transitioned to be primarily product focused. Its namesake product is currently in version 5.8, and maintains a quarterly release schedule.
Last Updated: 4th February 2021
CloverDX describes its flagship product as an enterprise data management platform. In practice, its capabilities hew closer to data integration than to anything else, and it doesn’t cover the full gamut of capabilities we would normally expect from a complete data management solution. That said, describing it as simply data integration doesn’t do it justice either: CloverDX uses its “DAOP” framework, standing for Design, Automate, Operate and Publish, to describe the breadth of the platform as it applies to a wide variety of data processes.
The platform itself comes in three parts: Designer, Server, and Data Apps, which we will discuss. It is highly extensible and customisable, supports structured and semi-structured data, and can be deployed in-cloud, on-premises, or as part of a hybrid solution. It can be implemented and scaled up from a small instance, and it is purchasable via annual or perpetual license.
“It allows us to work on the nice-to-haves, while Clover does the need-to-haves.”
Party of Canada
“CloverDX gives the business team more capability to do the work themselves.”
Designer, as seen in Figure 1, lets you visually design and create data transformation and orchestration jobs, with each job being captured as a flow. The steps in each flow are individual data processing components, dragged and dropped from a prepopulated but extensible component library. The product is well suited to support developers: you can test and debug completed jobs inside Designer by stepping through your flow one component at a time (much as with a conventional code debugger), version control is supported, and you can drill down into any given step to view and edit the underlying code. The latter, in particular, allows Designer to provide the benefits of components, most prominently reusability, while still giving your developers the power and flexibility of actual coding. Similarly, data transformation components are supported and can be customised using either the product’s dedicated transformation builder or via coding in Java, Python, or CTL (CloverDX Transformation Language, the platform’s bespoke language for data transformation).
Components aren’t the only reusability feature, either. Parameterisation and templated solutions are also offered, and together they allow you to rapidly repeat the same overarching task with varying parameters and configuration but with very little work beyond the initial design. Components also have the effect of breaking down baroque and perhaps even convoluted processing logic into small, easily digestible pieces. Combined with the visual element offered by the flowcharts themselves, this makes it much easier to assemble new data processes and, moreover, to fully understand your existing processes and jobs.
Once you’ve created your jobs in Designer, you can upload them to Server, which allows you to manage, execute and automate your created and running data processing jobs. This includes error handling, monitoring capabilities, and orchestration of your external tools and systems. In addition, Server enables you to scale your solution when needed, either vertically by provisioning a bigger instance or horizontally by connecting multiple instances together into a cluster. The latter also provides additional benefits, such as load balancing and failover. Server is shown in Figure 2.
Finally, Data Apps allows your users to interact with the CloverDX platform in such a way that the platform itself is invisible. Essentially, it lets you hook up web forms to the platform, so that once a user submits a form, it triggers a CloverDX processing job behind the scenes. This is particularly good for allowing non-technical users to leverage the platform without having to explicitly learn how to use it (or even to know that they’re using it at all).
CloverDX offers some straightforward advantages: it provides a way to automate your data processes and pipelines as well as a single platform from which to access the resulting data. These capabilities should speak for themselves.
More specifically, the platform puts significant emphasis on enriching the experience of the developer. Drag-and-drop components in CloverDX enable reusability and ease of use while still providing access to the underlying code, meaning that developers can take advantage of the former without losing the power of the latter. Common development tools, such as debugging and version control, are also made available for your data processes in a similar fashion to traditional development environments. In effect, the product offers a combination of no-code/low-code and full development environments that is both specialised for data processing and well suited for professional developers. This ought to be a significant boon to your developers’ productivity.
At the same time, the platform is highly appropriate for business and other principally non-technical users. Server is highly approachable, Data Apps is quite literally designed for this user group, and even Designer supports citizen development due to the low-code capability described above. The fact that your jobs in Designer are represented as visual flowcharts driven by components should make them much easier for business users to understand and, moreover, allows more technical business users to build jobs themselves using components provided to them by your dedicated developers. This has the potential to further increase productivity by taking work off your developers’ shoulders, while also going a long way toward enabling collaboration between your technical and non-technical users. In turn, this should help you to keep your DevOps and DataOps teams working as cohesive units and thereby address any operational issues you might be facing. You could even say this forms a dual emphasis for the product, in combination with the developer experience piece mentioned above.
The Bottom Line
CloverDX is a platform for automating your data processes that particularly (and successfully) caters to your developers without losing sight of your other users.