Are we on the verge of a radical change in the way we warehouse data? There's been a lot of commentary lately that times, indeed, are a'changin', but not a lot of agreement as to exactly what is happening or how to prepare for it.
Exhibit A is this piece by Philip Howard of Bloor Research. His take is that traditional enterprise data warehouse tools and data marts are handing some of their record-keeping roles over to master data management systems, but are linking up with new generations of edge appliances to provide all manner of analytical and comparative analysis capabilities. Early examples include appliances like Kognitio's Pricing Appliance that tracks revenues, tariffs and such for telecommunications firms, and LogLogic's Log Data Warehouse appliance that measures network and database log entries.
Meanwhile, over on the Enterprise Systems website, freelance business writer Ted Cuzzillo is predicting the death of the warehouse as we know it. He came to that conclusion after hearing about "personal data warehouses" at The Data Warehousing Institute's recent World Conference in San Diego. These PC-based tools tap into enterprise data for comparison and analysis under user-defined parameters, hopefully producing more actionable data for the person who needs it. Supporters say this provides a more flexible environment than a single warehouse that delivers one overarching definition of enterprise data. Others say a common thread of knowledge is crucial for large organizations.
Yet another view comes from Teradata CTO Stephen Brobst, who sees "active data warehousing" as the means to bring data into the daily lives of everyone from the field salesman to the CEO. He says only a fully automated architecture (like Teradata provides) can overcome the "red shift" that many enterprises encounter when trying to move warehousing operations beyond simple reporting, analyzing and predicting, and into the operational and activation realms.
Still there was some good news for folks with more immediate warehousing needs. SQL Server users will be pleased to know that Dell is offering 1, 2, and 4 TB bundles for the SQL Server Database and Analysis servers. The packages consist of Dell PowerEdge servers and varying configurations of PowerVault storage arrays. Numerous connectors and plug-ins will be available to let you manage the system from either Dell tools or Microsoft Operations Manager or Systems Management Server.
So is the data warehouse market really changing? Most definitely. But where it's heading is anyone's guess. My own take is that all of the above scenarios are valid, but none will dominate. With the varied nature of enterprise operations these days, it will take a plethora of approaches to allow the true benefits of warehousing to shine.