The Challenges of Connecting Disparate Data Sources and Migrating to a Cloud Data Warehouse
Migrating to a cloud data warehouse makes strategic sense in the modern context of cloud services and digital transformation. Operationally, connecting disparate data sources into your cloud data warehouse, managing ongoing change in your IT environment, and delivering on the promises of real-time operational data is both more complicated and difficult. This blog is the first of a 3 part series on how the Avalanche cloud data warehouse and Actian DataConnect integration platform work together to help companies realize their real-time analytics vision faster by enabling customers to ingest, transform, and deliver data from hundreds of applications and data sources into Avalanche cloud data warehouse.
Vision is Great, but Realizing That Vision can be Difficult
Conceptually, it is easy to understand why you would want to move to a cloud data warehouse.
- Reduce the capital outlay of on-premises data center resources.
- Leverage economies of scale that commercial cloud providers afford.
- Flexibility to scale capacity, performance, and costs based on the dynamic needs of your business.
Data warehouses consume a lot of storage capacity and require significant compute resources to yield the type of performance that digitally transformed business processes demand, which makes the vision of a cloud-based solution an easy sell to IT and business leaders.
Like any ambitious IT vision that seems “too good to be true,” many companies are finding that implementing a cloud data warehouse and integrating it into their broader IT environment is more complicated than they expected. The big challenge they are finding is not with the data warehouse solution, but ingesting data from a wide variety of sources, transforming that data and then delivering quality data into the cloud data warehouse, all in real-time.
Over the past 20 years, the number and diversity of IT systems and operating environments have exploded. The recent shift towards the cloud, SaaS services, mobile devices, and IoT has made data integration and management highly challenging and enforcing the required security and governance nearly impossible. This leaves IT departments with the challenge of accepting the disparate nature of data sources and somehow figuring out how to aggregate and reconcile them into a unified data model and data warehouse solution. Without the right tools, this task can be nearly impossible.
Data Connections and Hybrid Operating Environments – Each Has Their Management Challenges
The diversity in data connections across technologies and the hybrid nature of operating environments each bring their own set of challenges to the IT staff in your company. Mobile applications, IoT devices, core enterprise platforms (like CRM, ERP, and HRM) and 3rd party SaaS solutions each have their own data integration capabilities, security protocols, data formats, and refresh schedules. It isn’t uncommon for a mid-size enterprise to have 5 – 10,000 different systems and components in their IT ecosystem, all generating data that could create value for the company aggregated into a cloud data warehouse.
In addition to the different technology types, most modern companies are also operating in a hybrid operating environment with some applications running in on-premises data centers, some applications in the cloud, some applications hosted and managed by 3rd parties, and some applications running on distributed devices like IoT, tablets and mobile phones. Each of these operating environments has different capabilities for streaming data into an enterprise cloud data warehouse. Some environments have always-on, high bandwidth connectivity, and can stream large data sets in real-time. Others operate offline and are only able to “upload” data when connected to a corporate network. Third-party solutions may be blocked from data streaming based on security protocols or data sharing policies.
When you combine these two factors together, the impact is compounding (not additive). If you are going to realize the full value of a cloud data warehouse, your IT department needs to have the right integration tools to bring order to the chaos and manage all the data connections within your IT ecosystem in a consistent and secure way. That’s where Actian DataConnect helps – providing a set of centralized capabilities for managing data connections, regardless of the source system or operating environment, so that that data can be effectively and efficiently integrated into your data warehouse.
Actian Avalanche is a modern cloud data warehouse that provides you with the performance, scalability, and analytical capabilities that business leaders demand.
When you combine Avalanche with the integration capabilities of DataConnect, you gain the capabilities to more quickly migrate data into the data warehouse and the operational capabilities to manage change in disparate source systems. This translates to faster time to value on your cloud data warehouse implementation, greater business agility, and enhanced data security – all things a successful modern business needs. To learn more about how Avalanche and DataConnect work together, visit www.actian.com/dataconnect.