The fundamental aspect of any business intelligence strategy is data-centric decision making. Organizations now know that instincts and observation alone may not be good enough to advocate business decisions. There is a real need to ensure that data is at the center of all business decisions. However, there are some problems when it comes to implementing data-driven decision making. How can enterprises collide all different data sources into a centralized data management system and club with BI tools? The data sources and systems in modern-day enterprises are desperate, which means that there is a real need to integrate all data in one place to be properly stored and analyzed. This is where a data warehouse becomes important.
What data warehousing?
A data warehouse is a system, which functions as the central repository to collide all integrated data from various sources. Data warehouse supports all the data related activities as storing, managing, reporting, analysis, and decision making. Data warehouses are categorized as subject-oriented, time variant, and nonvolatile, etc.
- Subject oriented - It means the analysis from different subject matter areas like finance, marketing, operations all can access the data related to their specialist area and do the analysis on the data warehouse.
- Time variant - This means the data warehouse contains earlier data, which is different from the transactional systems, containing only the most recent data.
- Non-volatile – This means that the data is getting stored in the data warehouse, which should not change.
A data warehouse in changing technological environment
Cloud Computing is now bringing in a paradigm shift in all aspects of IT architecture. There has been a slow shift from the usage of on-premises database systems to comprehensive cloud-based data warehousing services when it comes to data warehousing. The cloud is a very convenient and cost-effective way to access databases in computing services as there is no need for any costly hardware or infrastructure for the enterprises to arrange. On the cloud, the organizations can consume cloud-based services by simply paying for only the services availed. In most cases, you need to pay only for the computing resources used to deliver the services. More and more organizations are considering cloud-based deployments of the database and analytical environments by disrupting the traditional on-premises data warehousing market.
Regardless of the infrastructure used to deploy the data warehouses, modern enterprises in different industries are also benefiting from their deployment. A typical data warehouse helps to do business decision making in cases like:
- Review and analyze operations and logistics by using the analysis to improve and optimize how the business unit functions.
- To improve the relationships with the end customers, both the current customers as well as prospective ones.
- Track and analyze and improve the company's performance and profitability.
- Analyze the sales process and making it more efficient.
The leading vendors providing on-premises data warehouse systems include SAP, Microsoft, HP, and IBM. These systems are primarily database software that is optimized for data warehouse workloads and analytics. Enterprises can purchase the most appropriate hardware to support data warehousing software. IBM Teradata and Oracle offer a mix of software and hardware for full-fledged data warehousing packages on-premises.
When it comes to cloud-based offerings, some systems offer data warehouses as a service. This means there is no investment for the organizations in setting up the physical hardware beyond the computers used to access the data and reports over the internet. Some of such comprehensive data warehouses are Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Azure SQL data warehouse, etc.You may take the assistance of expert consultants like RemoteDBA.com to find the most suitable data warehouse packages for your enterprise.
Some tips for choosing the right data warehouse
Network latency is not the only factor to consider
One major concern when it comes to that cloud-based services is speed. The fact is that the latency of cloud-based networks does not have as much of an impact on the performance as you often assume. With local services, the latency is, of course, less of an issue with on-premises systems compared to cloud servers located far from the enterprise. However, the speed difference is now often very negligible performance. Performance with the cloud-based system can be as good as on-premises data warehousing in most cases now.
Cost is an important consideration in case of adopting any new technology. For on-premises deployment, the cost of building a data warehouse may run into thousands of dollars. This cost is apart from the extensive administration and management cost further to keep such a system running. When it comes to cloud services, the cost may vary extensively among different vendors. Confusion in terms of cost arises primarily because different vendors offer different pricing structures. For example, Amazon Redshift charges the users based on the type of computing instances they used to house the data. On the other hand, Google BigQuery charges for every query in addition to storage. You need to understand the pricing structure to choose the most cost-effective solution, which fits your company's budget.
Does the warehousing product meet compliance rules?
This question is relevant for all types of cloud-based data warehousing services. While choosing data warehousing products, you should check the compliance requirements against the data warehousing vendors' standards. For example, suppose you are a company functioning in the healthcare industry. In that case, HIPAA compliance laws must strictly be followed to ensure patient data confidentiality and other crucial healthcare information. Any organization in the healthcare sector may need to ensure that their data warehousing complies with the HIPAA regulations. There are similar rules and regulations in various other industries, which govern how sensitive data needs to be handled.
Along with these, you have to look for easy scalability and low administrative cost too when choosing cloud-based data warehousing services. Remember to opt for the systems that meet your company's customized requirements and do not invest in any unnecessary computing power or storage needs, which you may not utilize. On the cloud, you can scale upwards at any time based on your needs.