Building secure enterprise apps faster with Databricks and Retool

Brian Flynn
Brian Flynn
Partnerships @ Retool

Sep 29, 2023

Data and business software are excellent complements to one another. Data is necessary for an application to be useful while applications make data actionable, together driving business decisions and efficiency. The catch is that your apps and data platform have to play nicely in order to realize the value of your data-backed applications.

That’s why data teams and developers often use Retool to create frontends and powerful applications that leverage their Databricks data. And that experience is about to get even richer with the forthcoming availability of Lakehouse Apps—a secure way to build, distribute, and run innovative data and AI applications, and to unlock the full value of data in your Lakehouse—in the Databricks Marketplace. It will soon be easier than ever to leverage Retool to build custom tools on top of a Databricks Lakehouse, complete with the security features you’ve come to expect and trust from both companies.

According to Databricks’ recent statement, “Lakehouse Apps provides developers with a native, secure, no-compromise solution. By running directly on a customer’s Databricks instance, these apps can easily and securely integrate with the customer’s data, use and extend Databricks services, and enable users to interact with a single sign-on experience—all without data ever leaving the customer’s instance.”

In a recent session hosted with Retool and Databricks we outlined the benefits and values of building data applications and a demonstration of this architecture in use. Watch the full recording of the session Building data apps and AI-powered operations with Retool and Databricks to learn more.

Operational tooling relies on data to drive business outcomes

Organizations turn to Retool when they want to quickly build custom tools that empower their team members to operate at scale. Everyone from sales teams to recruiters to software engineers can benefit from bespoke applications that automate recurring actions, streamline processes, or tie together disparate tools. These sorts of tasks almost always involve data, whether that’s employee records, customer information, sales numbers, or anything else.

A leader among data and AI companies, Databricks offers their Lakehouse platform for securely managing your data. With the Databricks Lakehouse, companies get the high reliability and governance of a data warehouse alongside the machine learning capabilities of a data lake.

Together, Retool and Databricks give customers a convenient way to make the most of their data. Retool allows developers to quickly spin up and customize utilities on top of their Lakehouse—and if you have other data sources in addition to your Databricks Lakehouse, you can use Retool to unify them.

Access Retool through the Databricks Marketplace

The Databricks Marketplace is an open marketplace for data products such as datasets and AI models. Coming soon to the marketplace are Lakehouse Apps, which are native applications that run directly on a Databricks Lakehouse.

We’re delighted to be an early partner for this initiative, providing some key advantages to builders:

  • Retool runs directly on your Databricks instance, with the same security, privacy, and compliance controls. It’s a single sign-on experience for end users.
  • You can use the Databricks Unity Catalog to configure which resources to expose and which users can have access.
  • Retool can contribute metadata and lineage information to the Unity Catalog and extend your Lakehouse with custom functionality.

In short, because Lakehouse Apps run on your existing Databricks infrastructure, there’s nothing new to set up. The legal and security hurdles to trying a new Lakehouse App are minimal, too, because Databricks governs access to your enterprise assets. This means that Databricks customers who are new to Retool can start building internal tools with little to no overhead.

Get started with Databricks and Retool

While Lakehouse Apps are coming to the Databricks Marketplace later this year, you can still build Retool Apps with Databricks today. Retool already has an integration with Databricks SQL that lets you both read and write to Databricks—it takes just minutes to enable.

Databricks customers will be happy to know that Retool also supports on-prem deployment and other security must-haves like SSO and two-factor authentication. And with Retool, you can be confident in the security of your entire suite of internal applications because you have full control over how you build them.

Read our docs to learn more about connecting Retool and Databricks or check out Databricks’ recent blog to find out more about what’s coming with Lakehouse Apps.

Want to explore how Retool can fit the needs of your organization? Book a demo today.


Brian Flynn
Brian Flynn
Partnerships @ Retool
Sep 29, 2023