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Modern Data Warehouse 101 - Understanding the Basics

Mohammed NaserMohammed Naser

Data warehouses have changed a lot from where they began, too. To get to know things better, here is an overview of modern data warehousing.

'Modern data warehouse' is an important term for any enterprise dealing with data and wants to ensure integrity, accuracy, and reliability. Without the application of data warehousing, companies are forced to depend on accessing raw data stored within applications in a human-based (meaning, more accuracy issues), slow process. Companies can often run massive data analytics and store, process, and make it accessible for authorized users when needed with data warehouses.

Data warehouses have changed a lot from where they began, too. To get to know things better, here is an overview of modern data warehousing.

Defining a Modern Data Warehouse

It isn't easy to define something that is constantly changing. The technology we see today might not be what we see tomorrow, and the same is the case for data warehousing. Data warehousing has been around since the 1980s, and with the rise of big data and such, it has changed a lot. In simple terms, modern data warehouses can be defined as a central data management system storing and consolidating data to support analytics, machine learning, data mining, etc., within an organization.

We are also particularly fond of the way author Martyn Jones defines modern data warehouse and believe that it holds true even with the evolution: “A data warehouse is essentially a business-driven, enterprise-centric and technology-based solution. And it is used to provide continuous quality improvement in the sourcing, integration, packaging, and delivery of data for strategic, tactical and operational modelling, reporting, visualization, analytics, statistics, and decision-making.”

Data warehouse vs. database vs. data lake

All of these terms are widely used in any industry in handling large volumes of data, and differentiation is both easy and essential. A database major and primary component of a data warehouse system. It is essentially a tool that collects data for various purposes, such as reporting, application support, transactions, etc. The tools can be as varied as a small excel sheet with numbers and figures to large Customer Resource Management (CRM) report.

Meanwhile, data lakes can be seen as similar entities to data warehouses. They both have the functions of storing, managing, and analyzing data. Data warehouses are mostly used to deal with structured data. In contrast, in data lakes, structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data go in and are processed upon demand and use-cases. It is worth mentioning that there is some overlap between data warehouses and data lakes. With the advancement of technology such as big data, modern data warehouses can also deal with semi/unstructured data in certain cases.

Data warehousing - Types and Characteristics

When an organization has a significant amount of data diversity and analytical requirements, the need for data warehousing becomes paramount. To ensure this is done properly, organizations need to understand the type of data warehousing they have to implement. Here are the three major types.

  • Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) - a sophisticated system that crosses the entire business structure, used to centralize huge amounts of data, organizing and classifying it in a unified manner
  • Operational Data Store - a more traditional type of data warehouse, gets data from various sources within the business, and is ideal for daily operations.
  • Data mart - can be seen as a subset of a modern data warehouse, supporting a specific operational unit or team.

The rise of cloud technology has brought forward many changes, including increased scalability and availability within modern data warehouses. Here are some of the characteristics of the system as of now.

  • Combines all kinds of data regardless of scale, thanks to cloud computing
  • Easy access to business intelligence for enterprises
  • Provides visualization and visual analytics where applicable
  • Primarily built for analytical purposes and the focus is on value over transaction processes

VEXXHOST Cloud for Data Warehousing

VEXXHOST has always been at the forefront of technology that can make an impact on organizations, and modern data warehouses are no different. For enterprises considering data warehousing for their operations and are looking at cloud providers to enable it, we sure can help. At VEXXHOST, we specialize in OpenStack-based cloud solutions spanning many industries, from small businesses to governmental organizations. For many of our clients, highly scalable and secure private clouds are the preferred choice for their infrastructure.

Speaking of private clouds, you can now run on a fully agile and customized cloud from VEXXHOST, with no licensing fees and smooth 2-week migration. In fact, we're ready to put our money where our mouth is. We're so confident in being able to save you at least 20% or more on your current cloud infrastructure expenditure that if proven wrong- we'll give you $1,000 credit to our public cloud.

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