Are Data Integrated Systems Right for You?

Loraine Lawson
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How to Sell Senior Management on a Data Warehouse

The real benefits of data warehousing are indirect: the ability for your company to make better, faster decisions that will save money and increase revenue.

It seems like there was a lot more buzz in 2010 about the big vendor integration plays in the data stack than in 2011. I'm talking about the big integration moves, the "one stack to bind them" plays that combine hardware and software, such as IBM's Netezza, Oracle's Exadata and Exalogic, and VMware and EMC.


Not that these systems went away or anything. On the contrary, IBM's executive Steve Mills recently took a swing at Oracle's Exadata's integration, snipping, "It's easy to throw a lot of stuff into a crate, ship it as one thing and say it's an integrated product," according to ZDNet. Earlier in the year, there was also an intriguing discussion about how Exadata's integrated approach to data might challenge existing IT work silos.


One thing I've wondered about is how you could know if these systems were right for your organization. To help you figure it out, Gartner's Andy Butler recently issued a 10-point comparison list to help you decide whether your organization would be a good early adopter of these solutions, which the Datacenter Dynamics article called "compute fabrics and highly verticalized, integrated systems."


Here's what would make your company a shoe-in for a mammoth integrated solution:


  • You have limited IT skills.
  • You prefer "strong vendor alignment" as opposed to a heterogenous approach.
  • Your cost containment is focused on operating expenses.
  • Modernization is your top priority, even over achieving a better ROI on legacy systems.
  • You prefer one throat to choke and do not fear vendor lock-in.
  • You're all about being cloud-ready.
  • You have a concentrated or focused software portfolio.
  • Your IT culture cuts across expertise silos, rather than wallowing in them.

Actually, if you think about it, these reasons aren't that different from what you'd expect with any appliance. The article includes a graph that shows a continuum, with what makes a company an "obvious fit" versus a "marginal fit," so it's worth checking out if you're not an obvious fit for a big stack solution.

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