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June 24, 2009

Getting Most out of Open Source Data Warehouse

Filed under: Data Warehousing, Open Source — Tags: — Olga Belokurskaya @ 5:53 am

There’s been quite a period of time since open source data warehouses evolved and gained popularity. However, an open source data warehouse is still regarded as a solution for small or mid-sized companies lacking enough budgets for solid proprietary solutions. Bigger companies may also use open source solutions as complimentary to their proprietary data warehouses.
Getting the most out of an open source data warehouse implementation is possible. There are some ways below provided by Claudia Imhoff:

  • Open source data warehouses complementing already existing proprietary enterprise solutions may help quickly address the new company’s needs. Proprietary solutions being more strategic are not so fast to react to those changes.
  • Normally, it’s the analysts who work with data warehouses; they are familiar with building massive queries and other technical stuff. But in some cases, there are end users who don’t have special technical knowledge, and need as much ease of use as possible.
  • Open source data warehouses should be compatible with related open source environments.
  • While open source data warehouses may seem cheaper than proprietary solutions at first, additional costs, such as transition and training costs, should be taken into account.

April 25, 2009

Data Warehousing Pros and Cons

Filed under: Data Warehousing — Tags: , — Olga Belokurskaya @ 4:32 am

First, let’s remember what is data warehouse, and why it may be useful for a business.

In fact, it is a repository of an organization’s  data which is electronically stored, and it is designed to facilitate reporting and analysis. The broader meaning of data warehouse focuses not only on data storage, but the means to retrieve and analyze data, to extract, transform and load data, and to manage the data dictionary are also considered essential components of a data warehousing system.

Nowadays, data warehousing is a popular management technique and is frequently used as a business model. However, not every system is applicable to every business setting. So when thinking about implementing the strategy, one should consider pros and cons of data warehousing.

Among the major benefits of data warehousing is enhanced access to data and information and easy reporting and analysis. Besides:

  • Data retrieval is faster within data warehouses.
  • Prior to loading data into the data warehouse, inconsistencies are identified and resolved.
  • Data warehouses can work in conjunction with and, hence, enhance the value of operational business applications, such as, for example, CRM systems.

And here are some cons:

  • Preparation is very frequently time consuming for effort is needed to create a cohesive, compatible system of data collection, storage, and retrieval. Moreover, because data must be extracted, transformed and loaded into the warehouse, there is an element of latency in data warehouse data.
  • Compatibility with existing systems. The use of data warehousing technology may require a company to modify the database system already in place. This could really be the foremost concern of businesses when adapting the model given the cost of the computer systems and software needed.
  • Security flaws that data warehousing technology may contain. If the database contains sensitive information, its use may be restricted to a limited group of people and precautions will be required to insure that access is not compromised. Limited data access situations can also effect the overall utilization of the data strategy.
  • Over their life, data warehouses can have high costs. The data warehouse is usually not static, it gets outdated and needs regular maintenance, which may be quite costly.

So, before any implementations, one should make sure that data warehousing will be a good fit for the business and be prepared to commit to the level of work required to get the system in place. However, once data warehouse starts working, most companies are glad to have their “corporate memory.”