Data warehousing is shaping up to be one of the chief growth areas in enterprise technology this year as organizations seek to gain some practical use for the staggering amounts of data sitting in archive systems.
As such, the industry is evolving along a number of fronts as it seeks to scale into the cloud along with the rest of data center infrastructure.
Top platform providers in particular are working feverishly to incorporate warehousing in their soup-to-nuts enterprise offerings. HP is the latest to make a move with the purchase of Vertica Systems for an undisclosed sum. Vertica specializes in the kind of real-time analytics that makes warehousing such a crucial aspect of the overall business intelligence environment.
According to Forrester Research, the future of warehousing will be defined by three interrelated developments: increased scalability and flexibility, and decreased costs. This is primarily why the cloud is now seen as such a key enabling technology. Not only does it provide an environment that supports massive scale-out architectures and new levels of elastic, parallel processing, but it also enables a wide range of packaging, pricing and licensing models that should expand the warehousing market into lower-tier enterprises.
A key factor in warehousing’s success is integration with existing data environments. That’s why newcomers like WhereScape are targeting their systems at specific database platforms — in this case SQL Server. The company’s new version of WhereScape RED was developed under Microsoft’s Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 reference architecture, which improves both data loading and processing, as well as aggregation and analysis. There is also a built-in scheduler that handles workflow dependencies, centralized monitoring and error handling.
Warehousing is also one of the last enterprise functions seeing targeted hardware development, albeit on commodity platforms. IBM recently rolled out a new high-speed blade designed for mainframe warehouse applications. The DataPower X150z is essentially a WebSphere management appliance tied to the zBX mainframe via the zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension interface. Expect to see similar systems on Power7 and x86 blades in the near future.
The upshot of all this is that warehousing is no longer the overly daunting task it was just a few years ago. Granted, it still requires a fair amount of planning and coordination and generates the greatest benefit when deployed as part of a unified data management platform.
But at least the mechanics of deployment and integration are coming into focus, allowing more organizations to draw greater value from their stored data.