Skip to main content



Data clean room and data collaboration technology can be categorized in multiple ways. A common method is to put all vendors and technologies into only two categories:

  1. Independent
  2. "Walled Garden" (Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc)

This distinction is useful for a basic understanding of data clean rooms, but it is over-simplified for real-world scenarios and forces many companies and technologies into categories they don't belong in.

"Independent" doesn't always mean "neutral"

The "independent" clean room category implies neutrality. However, among so-called "independent" (non-Walled Garden) solutions, there are many offerings that come bundled inside larger tech stacks, or are coupled with specific companies (and their agendas).

"Walled Garden" doesn't always mean "closed-off"

"Walled Garden" implies a lack of compatibility with the outside world. Amazon Ads, for example, offers a clean room called Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) which is only meant to be compatible with Amazon Ads campaigns and Amazon commerce data. In this case, "Walled Garden" is accurate.

However, Amazon Web Services offers a completely different, general-purpose clean room technology called AWS Clean Rooms which is designed for maximum compatibility across any data set an AWS customer might want to utilize.

Same company (Amazon), very different levels of compatibility.

The U of Digital Clean Room / Data Collaboration Landscape

In our courses and workshops, U of Digital uses a 2x2 quadrant-based landscape to classify clean room and data collaboration offerings into a more meaningful set of four categories.

Instead of "Walled Garden" (which comes with a lot of baggage!), we use the term "Big Tech" to describe companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

  1. Independent + general-purpose
  2. Independent + specialized
  3. Big Tech + general-purpose
  4. Big Tech + specialized

You can find the original Google Slide here (feel free to use with attribution to U of Digital).