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What is Cloud Data Warehouse?

With the advent of modern-day cloud infrastructure, many business-critical applications like databases, ERPs, and Marketing applications have all moved to the cloud. With this, most of the business-critical data now resides in the cloud. Now that all the business data resides in the cloud, companies need a data warehouse that can seamlessly store the data from all the different cloud-based applications. This is where Cloud Data Warehouse comes into the picture.

What is Cloud Data Warehouse?

A cloud data warehouse is at the heart of a structured analytics system. It serves as a central repository of information that can be analyzed to enable a business to make better-informed decisions. Businesses require relevant insights from across the organization – whether they’re related to new products, fraud detection, optimal pricing, or maximizing customer loyalty. It delivers agility, standing up in minutes rather than months, and can be scaled up or down as required. To continue to deliver value and fit into a modern analytics ecosystem, legacy on-premises data warehouses need to modernize by moving to the cloud.

Data integration and data management are critical to cloud data warehousing. You need a comprehensive data management solution to discover relevant data across your organization, migrate it to your cloud data warehouse, and keep it updated with fresh and trustworthy data regularly. To accommodate data that comes from sources outside the company, your integration and data management solution needs to be able to handle any data type (structured, semi-structured, or unstructured), any user, any data source, and any data integration pattern.

cloud data warehouse

Key features 

Separation of storage and compute
Cloud data warehouses store your data in one place and then allow you to access it anywhere. This is a great advantage for businesses that need to store and manage large amounts of data and require agility and flexibility simultaneously.

Data integration and management 
The top cloud data warehouses offer extensive data integration capabilities, making it easy to connect to a variety of data sources. They also provide robust tools for managing data, including the ability to create and manage datasets, set permissions, and run queries.

Data storage
Cloud data warehouses offer scalable storage options, so you can store as much data as you need. They also offer features like compression and deduplication to help save space and improve performance.

Data warehouse database performance 
Cloud data warehouses are designed for high performance, with features like columnar storage and in-memory caching. They also offer features like parallel query processing to help improve performance even further.

Data warehouse database management 
Cloud data warehouses offer extensive tools for managing your data warehouse, including the ability to create and manage databases, set permissions, and run queries. They also offer features like automatic backups and disaster recovery to help keep your data safe.

Security and Compliance 
Cloud data warehouses offer robust security features, including the ability to encrypt data at rest and in transit. They also offer tools for managing access control and auditing, so you can ensure that only authorized users have access to your data.

Cloud Data Warehouse Benefits

It has become a crucial solution for modern business intelligence and analytics, allowing organizations to utilize advanced analytics to gain business insights that can improve operations, enhance customer service, and ultimately gain a competitive advantage. Modern cloud architectures combine the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms, and the elasticity of the cloud at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Here we discuss the advantages in performance, scalability, and cost when implementing a cloud-based data warehouse over a traditional data warehouse.

  • Faster Insights: It provides more powerful computing capabilities, and will deliver real-time cloud analytics using data from diverse data sources much faster than an on-premises data warehouse, allowing business users to access better insights, faster.
  • Scalability: It offers immediate and nearly unlimited storage, and it’s easy to scale as your storage needs grow. Increasing cloud storage doesn’t require you to purchase new hardware as an on-premises data warehouse does, and you’ll pay a fraction of the cost.
  • Overhead: Maintaining a data warehouse on-premises requires a dedicated server room full of expensive hardware, and experienced employees to oversee, manually upgrade, and troubleshoot issues. A cloud data warehouse requires no physical hardware or allocated office space, making operational costs significantly lower.

cloud data warehouse

What are the risks of moving to a Cloud Data Warehouse?

Adopting a cloud data warehouse holds many potential benefits but like any large application modernization, there are significant risks involved in this undertaking. Organizations cannot afford any disruptions to normal business operations. They must have a clear understanding of their existing data assets in the data warehouse as well as all the processes involved in the operation of the data warehouse. Of equal importance are the existing data consumption processes and applications that utilize data in the warehouse and provide the business with the intelligence it needs.

The organization must be able to support its personnel with tools to plan, design, develop, and execute the migration of both the existing data warehouse infrastructure (schema, processes, applications) and the data stored in the data warehouse to these modern platforms in a timely and accurate fashion.

Once the new cloud data warehouse is deployed, organizations must have the tooling required to monitor data warehouse performance and data quality, ensure data visibility and observability to enable literacy and ideation, and protect the data in this new system from threats and/or loss throughout the entire lifecycle.

What are the Challenges?

Security is a concern for cloud-based data warehousing. This is specifically due to the fact that service providers have access to their customers’ data. While service agreements and public legislation around data privacy do exist, it must be borne in mind that it is possible that these entities could, accidentally or deliberately, alter or delete the data.

Another major security concern is the penetration of cloud systems by hackers who are constantly searching for and exploiting vulnerabilities in these systems to gain access to users’ personal data and data belonging to large corporations.

Providers take maximum precautions in protecting users’ data. To this end, users are also offered choices in how their data is stored, such as having it encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.

cloud data warehouse

What should you consider when choosing a cloud data warehouse solution?

Successfully adopting a cloud data warehouse requires data governance, metadata management, platform automation, data movement and replication, data modeling and preparation, and data infrastructure monitoring solutions. When combined well, these tools can enable organizations to document their legacy data warehouse, plan and envision their modern aggregation platform, migrate their legacy data structures, logic, and movement processes, and govern and automate the new platform. These processes will assure the accuracy, adaptability, maintainability, and control of strategic data assets.

A cloud data warehouse solution should do this by supporting three key phases to ensure the success of your new modern data warehouse:

  • Model and document your as-is and to-be data warehouses to visualize your metadata which is the heart of your enterprise data management, data governance, and intelligence efforts.
  • Migrate the data as well as the data warehouse structures, logic, and processes using automation.
  • Govern and automate the ongoing development and operations of your modern data warehouse.

By empowering data warehouse modernization with the right tools and processes, organizations can accelerate legacy migrations while creating an agile, adaptable, cost-effective, and well-governed cloud data warehouse.

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