Cloud Computing in a Data Warehouse

Cloud computing is bringing a new era into the field of data warehousing and business intelligence. Organizations can now analyze large volumes of data in a faster and cheaper way. Cloud computing offers the availability of infrastructure/software in just a matter of minutes, eliminates the need to host data centers, and a pay-per-use service offering. The advantages of cloud computing are described in detail below.

Benefits of Cloud Computing for Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

  1. Cost Efficient: Data warehousing requires a lot of different software and the the cost of the associated infrastructure is expensive. Customers can save by using the cloud and paying for the required resourced as per their use. There is no need to worry about the ownership and maintenance of the software and hardware. This can be very beneficial for small and medium sized companies. Cloud computing allows organizations to spend less and decrease capital expenses, only requiring an operational expense.
  2. Time Efficient: Using the cloud can save a lot of time. Customers don’t need to spend weeks of effort on buying, installing, and configuring software and hardware. Cloud based applications are available immediately for use, reducing the time required to complete projects.
  3. Acquisition Sustainability: During acquisitions and mergers there might be duplicate data marts and applications which need to either be integrated or decommissioned. Cloud computing will help organizations focus more on how to effectively integrate the business instead of focusing on software and hardware infrastructure.
  4. Flexibility: Cloud computing will provide customers with more options. With a low operating cost and easy availability of software and hardware infrastructure, organizations can comparatively easily migrate from one technology to another.
  5. More Competitiveness: Cloud computing will create more competitiveness among providers of similar services. Users can evaluate similar software and hardware from different vendors easily and quickly. This healthy competitiveness will give customers more options.

Challenges of Cloud Computing in Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

  1. Data Security: Data security can be a challenge, as data will be stored in the cloud which is outside the owner’s infrastructure. For the cloud to become fully successful, this issue needs to be addressed in the future as lot of companies will not use the cloud for their sensitive data.
  2. Ability to Process Bulk Data: Since data warehousing and business intelligence requires bulk data handling, the performance of processing bulk data in the cloud need to be improved. Currently it may not match the processing speed of traditional data warehousing solutions.

Examples of Current Cloud Computing Services in Data Warehousing and BI

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): LogiXML, Birst, Lugicera
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Microsoft Azure, Google Apps Engine
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Amazon EC2

Concluding Thoughts

I believe that cloud computing will continue to evolve in the future to accommodate mission critical data warehousing and BI applications. It has the potential to revolutionize the area of data warehousing and business intelligence. It will help small and medium sized business to use more analytical data because of the lower operational cost.

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