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Cloud: The Future of the Data Warehouse

By   /  April 13, 2018  /  No Comments

Click to learn more about author Neil Barton.

In the past, implementing a Data Warehouse was like walking a tightrope between Data Quality and business agility. When they were first created, on-premises Data Warehouses were hugely expensive and inhibited agility. Building a Data Warehouse took years and cost millions, meaning only the wealthiest companies could afford one.

Organizations were often discouraged by implementation. For instance, at least three years in advance, IT teams had to estimate how much storage and compute power would be necessary. If IT teams bought too little hardware, capacity would run out, which would slow down or derail the delivery of projects and negatively impact the perception from the business. The Data Warehouse could be deemed a failure. If IT teams bought too much hardware, IT budgets would lose an enormous amount of money on under-utilized hardware, in addition to creating graveyards of obsolete equipment.

The Cloud, however, changed this by allowing organizations to pay only for what they needed, when they needed it. With digital data expected to grow by 42 percent by 2020, according to IDC, many organizations have now begun to evaluate Cloud Data Warehousing as a solution to cope with growing data volumes. After speaking with many companies contemplating, or in the midst of a move, to the Cloud, there are three recurring themes organizations are looking to achieve when moving Data Warehousing to the Cloud.

Managing the Influx of Big Data

One of the main challenges with Big Data is the overhead of managing the underlying infrastructure, especially as the data volumes expand. Cloud-based Data Warehousing can be extremely useful for organizations facing a large influx of data because these platforms are designed to easily scale without incurring any additional administrative overhead.

This is an important factor as the business needs change over time, by only having to pay for what you use, when you use it. Flexible compute for data infrastructure, coupled with data infrastructure automation to manage and integrate data sources, provides organizations with a very agile and cost effective way to deliver analytic information to the business, at faster rates than ever before.

Automating Manual Processes

It’s not just about how much data can be stored and processed, but how quickly value can be derived from it. When you add Data Warehouse automation software to the mix, businesses can ensure data is available and accessible for analysis much faster than previously when developers were reliant on hand-coding to deliver and operate data infrastructure. Automation simplifies development, enables documentation, slashes needed effort and reduces risk in data integration and infrastructure projects. This allows IT teams to focus attention and resources on the more strategic aspects of providing analytic value to the businesses.

Maximizing the Return on Cloud Investment

By automating a Cloud-based Data Warehouse, IT teams are able to rapidly develop or prototype new analytic components without having to spend large sums of money on infrastructure. This fast-tracks new infrastructure projects and increases development and operation capabilities, maximizing an organization’s return on its Cloud investment.

Cloud-based Data Warehouse platforms, such as Snowflake, provide the benefits of elasticity, agility, low system administration overhead, cost effectiveness, scalability and performance. Automation software can fast-track the delivery of new Cloud-based infrastructure by automating the best practices and native capabilities of the platform and eliminating 95% of the hand-coding traditionally needed to design, develop, deploy and operate a Data Warehouse. By delivering faster, IT and business organizations can begin to reap the value of their Cloud investments sooner.

Data Warehousing is changing quickly, and largely for the better. Cloud Data Warehousing and automation increase IT’s ability to manage Big Data and provide an opportunity to eliminate the outdated, manual processes that constrict the organizational value it can provide. With all that the Cloud has to offer Data Warehousing, automation is the key to delivering success.


About the author

Neil Barton is the Chief Technology Officer for WhereScape, the leading provider of data infrastructure automation software, where he leads the long-term architecture and technology vision for the company's software products. Barton has held a variety of roles over the past 20 years, including positions at Oracle Australia and Sequent Computer Systems, focused on Software Architecture, Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence. Barton is a co-inventor of three US patents related to Business Intelligence software solutions.

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