Why You Should Build Your Data Warehouse in the Cloud
Don’t be left behind.
Today more than ever you must be using the latest technology to improve the performance of your business.
One thing that you can do in adopting the latest tech is to build your company data warehouse in the cloud.
What’s a Data Warehouse?
To fully discuss the advantages of building a data warehouse in the cloud, it’s useful to backtrack a bit and define what a data warehouse is. A data warehouse is a technology used for data analysis and reporting. It plays a very integral role in business intelligence and data science since it serves as your central storage of business data gathered from several sources throughout your company.
What Is the Cloud?
The term cloud conjures up images of files hanging in the sky, ready to be accessed anytime, anywhere. It is a bit deceptive to think of the cloud in that way though.
The cloud is made up of many, many physical computers that are located all over the world. The term cloud computing refers to the practice of sharing resources across many computers to maximize performance. In the early days of data processing, computers were the size of large rooms. Users had to log in through multiple terminals, so they could share the processing power of the mainframe.
That is the basic concept for cloud computing. Users from all over the world access the computers that house their data and provide shared computing resources using their own devices as terminals. The data processing and business calculations are done by those remote computers and the results are returned to the user’s device. This in a nutshell is how cloud computing works.
Data Warehouse in the Cloud
The concept of a cloud-based data warehouse is quite revolutionary.
Your business data can be stored in the cloud and then be accessed using any device within your company. Using the cloud for data processing and analytics is becoming quite popular now. Laptops are bound to become mere terminals in the future, with the actual processing and computing done in the cloud.
This cloud computing model also applies to data warehouses. As your business becomes more reliant on data and data analytics in making decisions, you will have to decide whether you should opt for a data warehouse in the cloud.
Why Build in the Cloud?
There are a lot of reasons why you should build your data warehouse in the cloud. Here are some of them:
It Is Cost-Effective
The main reason why you should build your data warehouse in the cloud is because it is cost-effective. You do not have to buy expensive computers in order to house your data warehouse on-site. Also, if you are using software that is already outdated, replacing or upgrading this software can be very expensive. Going for a cloud-based service will not require you to pay a large amount upfront for hardware or software. Using cloud-based services, you will only have to pay for what you use when you use it. Building your data warehouse in the cloud also means you will not have to spend your budget on the maintenance of the physical computers and all the other costs that go with housing your data warehouse in computers at your location.
It Offers Better Performance
A cloud-based data warehouse will allow you to handle data in scales that have never been possible before. The query performance of the cloud data warehouse is also blazing fast due to the ability to simultaneously process data on hundreds or thousands of computers when needed. In fact, cloud-based data warehouses are designed to run at their best when executing complex queries on large volumes of data.
It Is Scalable
The amount of data kept in a data warehouse is bound to grow steadily. It would be easy enough to plan for such a steady increase. But there are events which can cause sudden changes in the volume of data being handled by a data warehouse. A merger or an acquisition of a business for example can cause a sudden surge in the amount of data that must be kept. A business should have the capability of handling such sudden changes in data volume or processing workload without causing too much disruption.
Cloud data warehouses are inherently scalable and are designed for handling such changes. It can also immediately provide you with all the processing capacity that your business needs on demand. You need to ask yourself, are you planning on handling more or less business data in the future? It’s more likely that you will be handling more data, especially if you are planning on expanding your business. In that case, you should consider the switch to a cloud data warehouse.
Changing the Number of Users Is Easy
It is also easy to change the number of users accessing your company data on cloud-based data warehouses. It is just a matter of giving the right people access. This can be done easily without degrading the performance of the system.
Moving to the cloud will not cause any disruptions to your internal users. You can keep you in-house Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) running while you start the migration to the cloud. That means you can have a backup during the first stages of your move to the cloud.
You Get Help from Experts
When you are using an in-house EDW, you will have to rely on your own IT team to troubleshoot if there are problems. You can also get help from the provider of the EDW but that may take time. Each day and hour that your data warehouse is down will cost you money.
With a Collage Analytics cloud-based data warehouse, you will get excellent support from a professional team whenever you need our help.
Ideal for Analytics Workloads
Cloud data warehouses are designed for analytics workloads. If your company is dealing with very complex data sets, a cloud data warehouse would be ideal for you since it is specifically designed for that.
This one might be a bit controversial.
It’s no secret that one of the problems that some people have when it comes to using cloud-based data warehouses is that of security. Data warehouses that are in-house can be secured physically. Since the files in a cloud-based data warehouse can be accessed in any location, it is understandable that some are worried about its security.
In reality, the security provided by this type of data warehouse is better than in an on-premise data warehouse. Cloud service providers like Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Azure must meet the security requirements of several industries and strict data industry security standards. Cloud platforms also have authentication, authorization, and logging security features built into them.
Once you have decided that you will be using a cloud data warehouse, you need to start the migration planning process.
You can follow these steps for the migration to a cloud-based data warehouse:
Develop Your Plan
The first step in your data migration is to develop a plan. This involves restructuring your data and deciding on the software which you will be using. You may have to drop an existing software and use a new one. You also need to plan for any downtime that you may experience while your data warehouse is being migrated.
This is the actual migration process. First, you would have to migrate all your table structures and all your schemas. Once that is done, you can proceed with the actual migration of your data.
After the data has migrated, the next step is for you to migrate the ETL and data pipelines that will bring the company data into the data warehouse. This is also the time when you may want to evaluate and reorganize the data flow.
The last step is to migrate the applications and the users. Ideally, this should be done without interrupting the business process. Access and authorizations to the data warehouse should be evaluated and changed at this point in order to ensure the security of the system.
Once you are done with the actual migration, the next step for you is to validate that your data has been moved properly. Then, you can run tests in order to make sure that the system will run properly under heavy loads. It is also important to check that all users have the appropriate access and authorizations based on their role in the company. Should you find problems or errors in the data warehouse, try to identify the stage where something went wrong so you can fix it more easily.
A data warehouse contains a large amount of data. Migrating that to the cloud can take time and the process can be complicated.
Doing the migration process with one single move is not advisable. The best way is to do it in increments.
Consider keeping your on-site data warehouse running even while you are migrating all your data, so even when the cloud data warehouse comes online, the on-site data warehouse is still there. Just remember that the data between the two warehouses must be synchronized until the cutover is complete.
The good news is that Collage Analytics is ready to assist you in planning your migration and during the actual migration to your cloud data warehouse. Contact us today for your FREE cloud data warehouse consultation.
Do not let your organization be left behind. Consider moving your data warehouse to the cloud now and experience the convenience and superior performance that it can deliver.