Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Automic Blog, Sanjay Zalavadia, Pat Romanski, Tim Hinds, Blue Box Blog

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Five Ways Data Virtualization Improves Data Warehousing

Data virtualization fills the EDW agility gap

An array of business intelligence (BI), predictive analytics, data and content mining, portals and more tap a growing volume of information sourced from enterprise data warehouses (EDW).  However, significant volumes of business-critical enterprise data resides outside the enterprise data warehouse.  To deliver the most comprehensive information to business decision-makers, IT teams are implementing data virtualization to preserve and extend their existing enterprise data warehouse investments.

This article discusses five integration patterns that combine both enterprise data warehouses and data virtualization to solve real business and IT problems along with examples from Composite Software's data virtualization customers.  The five patterns include:

  1. Data Warehouse Augmentation
  2. Data Warehouse Federation
  3. Data Warehouse Hub and Virtual Data Mart Spoke
  4. Complementing the ETL Process
  5. Data Warehouse Prototyping

Maximizing Value from Enterprise Data Warehouse Investments
Supporting critical, yet ever-changing information requirements in an environment of ever-increasing data volumes and complexity is a challenge well understood by large enterprises and government agencies today.

This inexorable pressure has and will continue to drive the demand for enterprise data warehouses as an array of BI, predictive analytics, data and content mining, portals and other key applications rely on data sourced from enterprise data warehouses.

However, business change often outpaces enterprise data warehouse evolution.  And while useful for physically consolidating and transforming a large portion of enterprise data, significant volumes of enterprise data resides outside the confines of the enterprise data warehouse.  Further, enterprise data warehouses themselves require support throughout their lifecycles, driving demand for solutions that prototype, migrate, extend, federate and leverage enterprise data warehouse assets.

Data virtualization middleware, an advanced version of earlier data federation or enterprise information integration (EII) middleware, complements enterprise data warehouses by providing a range of flexible data integration techniques that preserve, extend and thereby drive greater business value from existing enterprise data warehouse investments.

1. Data Warehouse Augmentation
Organizations overwhelmed by scattered data silos and exponentially growing data volumes have deployed data warehouses to meet many of their reporting requirements.  However, a number of data sources remain outside the warehouse.  Providing users with complete business insight in support of revenue, cost and risk management goals often requires the following:

  • Historical data from the warehouse and up-to-the-minute data from transaction systems or operational data stores;
  • Summarized data from the warehouse and drill-down detail from transaction systems or operational data stores;
  • Master customer, product or employee data from an MDM hub or warehouse and detail from transaction systems or operational data stores; and
  • Internal data from the warehouse and external data from outside sources including cloud computing.

Data virtualization effectively federates data-warehouse information with additional sources, therefore extending existing data warehouse schemas and data.  These complementary views are conducive to adding current data to historical warehouse data, detailed data to summarized warehouse data, and external data to internal warehouse data.

Energy Company Combines Up-to-the-minute and Historical Data - To optimize deployment of repair crews and equipment across more than 10,000 production oil wells, an energy company uses data virtualization to federate real-time crew, equipment and well status data from their wells and SAP's maintenance management system with historical surface, subsurface and business data from their enterprise data warehouse.  The net result is faster repairs for more uptime and thus more revenue.

2. Data Warehouse Federation
A primary reason enterprises implement data warehouses is to overcome the various transaction and analytic system silos typical in most large enterprise and government agencies today.  However, for a number of often pragmatic reasons, the single "enterprise" data warehouse remains elusive.  Instead, for these same reasons, multiple data warehouses and data marts have been developed and deployed, in effect perpetuating, rather than overcoming, the data silo issue.

Optimizing business performance requires data from across these various warehouses and marts.   But physically combining multiple marts and warehouses into a singular and complete enterprise-wide data warehouse is often too costly and time consuming.

Data virtualization federates multiple physical warehouses.  Two examples include combining data from the sales and financial warehouses, or combining two sales data warehouses after a corporate merger. This approach achieves logical consolidation of warehouses by creating an integrated view across them, using abstraction to rationalize the different schema designs.

Investment Bank Federate Financial Trading Data Warehouses - To enable more flexible customer self-service reporting and meet SEC compliance reporting mandates, a prime brokerage uses data virtualization to federate equity, fixed income and other investment positions and trades information from siloed trading data warehouses.  The net result is higher customer satisfaction and lower reporting costs.

3. Data Warehouse Hub and Virtual Spoke
A typical data warehouse pattern is a central data warehouse hub with satellite data marts as spokes around the hub.  These marts use a subset of the warehouse data and are used by a subset of the data warehouse users.   Sometimes these marts are created because the analytic tools require data in a different form than the warehouse.  On the other hand, they may be created to work around the controls provided by the warehouse, and thus act as "rogue" data marts.  Regardless of the reason, every additional mart adds cost and compromises data quality.

Data virtualization provides virtual data marts that eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, the need for physical data marts around the data warehouse hubs.  This approach abstracts the warehouse data to meet specific consuming tool and user query requirements, while still preserving the quality and controls inherent in the data warehouse.

Mutual Fund Manager Eliminates "Rogue" Financial Data Marts - A mutual fund company uses data virtualization to enable more than 150 financial analysts to build portfolio analysis models with MATLAB® and other analysis tools leveraging a wide range of equity financial data from a 10 terabyte financial research data warehouse.  Prior to introducing data virtualization, analysts frequently spawned new satellite data marts with useful data subsets for every new project.  To accelerate and simplify data access and to stop the proliferation of costly, unnecessary physical marts, the firm instead used data virtualization to create virtual data marts formed from a set of robust, reusable views that directly accessed the financial warehouse on demand.  This enables analysts to spend more time on analysis and less on access, thereby improving portfolio returns.  The IT team has also eliminated extra, unneeded marts and all the costs that go with maintaining them.

4. Complementing the ETL Process
Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) middleware is the tool of choice for loading data warehouses.  However, there are some cases where ETL tools are not the most effective approach.  Some examples include:

  • ETL tools lack interfaces to easily access source data, for example data from packaged applications such as SAP or new technologies such as web services;
  • Readily available, existing virtual views or data services can be reused rather than building new ETL scripts from scratch; and
  • Tight batch windows require access, abstraction and federation activities to be pre-processed and virtually staged in advance of ETL processes.

ETL tools can leverage data virtualization views and data services as inputs to their batch processes, appearing as another data source. This integration pattern also integrates data source types that ETL tools cannot easily access as well as reuse existing views and services, saving time and costs.  Further these abstractions do not require ETL developers to understand the structure of, or interact directly with, actual data sources, significantly simplifying their work and reducing time to solution.

Energy Company Preprocesses SAP Data - To provide the SAP financial data required for their financial data warehouse, an energy company uses data virtualization to access and abstract SAP R/3 FICO data.  This replaces an error-prone, SAP data-expert-intensive, flat-file-extraction process that would not scale across a complex SAP landscape.  The results include more complete and timely data in the financial data warehouse enabling better performance management.

5. Data Warehouse Prototyping
Building a new data warehouse from scratch is a large undertaking that requires significant design, development and deployment efforts.  One of the biggest issues is schema change, a frequent activity early in a warehouse's lifecycle.   This change process requires modification of both the ETL scripts and physical data in the warehouse and thus becomes a bottleneck that slows new warehouse deployments.  This problem does not go away later in the lifecycle; it just lessens as the pace of change slows.

Data virtualization middleware can be the platform for prototype development environment for a new data warehouse.  In this prototype stage, a virtual data warehouse is built, rather than a physical one, saving the time to build the physical warehouse.  This virtual warehouse includes a full schema that is easy to iterate as well as a complete functional testing environment.  Performance testing is somewhat constrained at this stage, however.

Once the actual warehouse is deployed, the views and data services built during the prototype stage still have value.  These are useful for prototyping and testing subsequent warehouse schema changes that arise as business needs or underlying data sources change.

Government Agency Prototypes New Data Warehouses - To reduce data warehousing time-to-solution for new data warehouse projects and changes to existing ones, a government agency uses data virtualization.  The time spent in getting the data right has proven to be four times faster than directly building the ETL and warehouse, even when the subsequent translation of these working views into ETL scripts and physical warehouse schemas is factored in.

Key Takeaways
As data sources proliferate, including many web-based and cloud computing sources outside the traditional enterprise data warehouse, enterprises and government agencies are deploying solutions that combine enterprise data warehouses and data virtualization to deliver the most comprehensive information to decision-makers.  The results are extended life to existing information system investments, greater agility for adding new BI and other analytic technologies, and less disruption from corporate activities such as mergers and acquisitions.

More Stories By Robert Eve

Robert Eve is the EVP of Marketing at Composite Software, the data virtualization gold standard and co-author of Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility. Bob's experience includes executive level roles at leading enterprise software companies such as Mercury Interactive, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. Bob holds a Masters of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...