Cost, ease of use and performance are three common criteria for evaluating any technology initiative. When it comes to analyzing options for migrating your data warehouse to a cloud environment, these factors become key selling points for the top cloud providers.
Specifically, cloud provides benefits for managing and deriving value from big data, business user enablement, security and agility, disaster recovery and business continuity, and finance and procurement. The following points expand on these five business drivers for data warehouse cloud migration to help evaluate the best tools and approach, and build a business case for stakeholder buy-in.
Cloud providers offer plenty of tools for extracting structured, semi-structured and unstructured datasets, loading those datasets into cloud repositories, and making the data available for transformations (the extract-load-transform ELT paradigm). With auto-scale features in cloud, we no longer need to worry about storage – we can extract and manage different sets of data storage and ile formats (json, csv, txt, etc.) as needed. According to CIO.com, most ETL developers will tell you, traditional ETL can be an expensive, labor-intensive and troublesome process. When it comes to big data, leveraging the latest technology or processes is the key to efficiency.
Cloud helps achieve the goal of making data available for consumption anywhere, anytime, with high security and self-service. Availability of modern tools and technologies for analytics in cloud makes it easy to integrate a variety of datasets (structured, semi-structured, unstructured) and applications, and easily segregate enterprise data from external user data and make data available for external users without much effort. Since cloud-based data warehouses have high availability and low maintenance, we can quickly generate predictive models and reports.
Security presented a challenge in the early days of cloud. Today, we have solid security in authentication, authorization and data masking. We can secure our data at the row level as well as tokenize our sensitive data. When it comes to business agility, cloud platforms provide readily available tools and technologies that can be rapidly provisioned, and infrastructure can be quickly and easily deployed.According to Dzone, When setting up the data warehousing solution in the cloud, the data pipeline can also be optimized. Traditionally, it is common to follow a process of Extract Transform and Load (ETL) to move unstructured and semi-structured data to the data warehouse.
Since cloud providers offer many options for Disaster Recovery (DR), such as data replication across different regions, applications can maintain 99.99% high availability. Active-Active high availability is also an option in cloud environments. Another advantage is the ability to perform analytics on archived data sets.
Cloud enables us to reduce TCO through low operational cost, low infrastructure maintenance cost, low modernization and migration cost, no data center overhead, low operational staff cost (we need not worry about hardware and hardware support cost), and no hardware procurement headache. The availability of experienced solution providers, such as Bitwise, help to take the guesswork out of migration and modernization initiatives.
Along with these, we see that cloud data warehouses provide scalability, flexibility and global reach in a way that just is not feasible in traditional data warehouses. When managing the variety, volume and velocity that we see with big data, moving data warehousing to cloud using new options like Snowflake or Redshift becomes imperative to meeting business needs.
While the benefits are numerous, and the technology mature, there can be many pitfalls on the path to migrating your data warehouse to a cloud environment. Understanding which platform and strategy can best help you achieve your business goals is a crucial first step. An experienced solutions provider should be able to help you conduct your cloud strategy and assessment to develop an implementation roadmap.
Bharat is Director of Big Data and Cloud Computing Strategy and Solutions at Bitwise with extensive experience in architecting and developing scalable BI, Big Data, and Cloud Computing solutions.