There are a lot of data warehouses out there that can no longer keep up with the pace of the business.
Most data warehouses were built on the assumption that performance would hardly be an issue. The business side wasn't expected to stress the platform by making too many queries, and just about all the queries were of the canned variety.
But today, people use the data warehouse more often as they discover the power of a wide variety of business intelligence applications and they want answers quickly to all kinds of complex queries.
This need for BI speed comes as more and more decisions are being made in relatively real time. But rather than just making gut decisions, companies are rightfully insisting that managers have some actual data to back up those decisions. That means people increasingly are turning to the IT department for analytics.
This fundamental shift in the way data is used creates the need for faster data warehouses. This is why you see traditional data warehouse providers such as Hewlett-Packard upgrading the performance capabilities of its Neoview data warehouse, while relative newcomers such as Aster Data and ParAccel strive to carve out a piece of the market based on their ability to quickly process large amounts of data.
All this interest and activity makes what was once a sleepy back-office corner of the IT department suddenly one of the best places to be in terms of adding value to the business. Most businesses are never going to operate in real time, but the gap between production systems and the data warehouse is narrowing considerably. The only real issue is whether the existing data warehouse can really keep up with it.