Datawarehouse is one great and interesting concept that organizations are picking up


By SAQIB SABAH, Account Director, 
Teradata, a division of NCR

May 05 - 18, 2003



A lot has happened over the past few decades from information technology point of view. Globalization was only thought of and after Internet it seems as if it was a piece of cake. In technology type of write ups, it is always easy to start with where we were and what used to happen in the past but the difficult part is to catch up the present and the future. Organizations have invested heavily in IT infrastructure establishments to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness. Over the last 10 years organizations have changed their focus within IT from HW approach to more like a business solution approach and hence many leading IT organizations have come up with something that organizations were really looking forward to. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) the hottest buzzword in IT for the last 6 to 7 years has been pretty successful in terms of catching up organizations focus. Many organizations invested like crazy in ERP technology, yet with a lot of advantages there are few drawbacks organizations have faced with the technology. Since the focus of ERP has always been to help organizations achieve operational efficiency, so at times organization felt threatened about their return on investments. The lengthy implementation processes and its impact on the corporate culture has been one of the greatest topics for organizations to consider before going for such solutions. To overcome these issues many organizations have played smart just to ensure that they get the maximum benefit out of their ERP implementations. They realized that what they need is not only operational efficiency rather they also require organizational top line growth and bottom line performance through decision support systems.

Datawarehouse is one great and interesting concept that organizations are picking up in order to take full advantage of their investments in IT. Since it is based on the decision making and problem solving capability concepts hence quick returns has been one of the greatest advantage that attracts companies to invest in it. Due to the controversies of the success of ERPs, million-dollar question is how do you maximize the ROI from your ERP system? The answer to this question might just lie outside your ERP system.

Datawarehousing besides providing other benefits provides faster and consolidated view of enterprise-wide Information and packs in the ability to flexibly analyze it. Data Warehousing provides the answers with an application environment consisting of a dedicated database drawing on diverse data sources, designed to support advanced complex query and analytical capabilities.

The most important point to consider here is that since the focus of this solution is not subject-oriented hence it has to have the capabilities to support complex ad hoc queries from a perspective to get a 360 degree view of the organization whether it is pertaining to the customers, suppliers, or the financial position of the organization. It has to keep into consideration the single version of the truth philosophy. Yet all of it is only possible when you have a consolidated specialized database that can store and manage complex queries and yet also provides you the scalability to grow linearly as your organization grows.



Datawarehouse is a process; you grow your data by integrating the entire operational systems at one place. Datawarehouse grows with time and due to the complexity of a query there are key features to remember while selecting the entire solution about scalability. "Scalability" is a term that is widely used and often misunderstood. Usually, two measures define scalability "scale-up" and "speed-up." Scale-up is the ability to deliver the same response time if the workload and hardware resources are increased at the same rate. If the hardware resources are doubled, then a system with perfect scale-up will do exactly twice as much work in the same response time.

Speed-up is the ability to do the same work faster if more hardware resources are applied. If system size is doubled, a system with perfect speed-up will do the entire workload twice as fast.

True scalability means that any change or combination of changes to hardware resources, workload or response time has the same directly proportional effect on each of the others, regardless of their current magnitude. So quadrupling resources while doubling workload will deliver all the work in half the response time, regardless of the configuration's original size.

"Shared nothing model"; very useful for growing systems because when hardware components such as disk or memory are shared system-wide, there is an extra overhead involve to manage and coordinate contention for these components. This overhead can place a limit on scalable performance when growth occurs or stress is placed on any component of the system such as the system internal bus.

Shared nothing configuration is able to minimize or eliminate the interference and overhead of resource sharing, the balance of disk, interconnect traffic, memory power, bus and processor strength can be maintained.

Yet many vendors claim Shared Nothing Architecture; but key questions need to be related to determine if it scales predictably and on a one to one direct correlation between data volume or workload. The solution must have a perfect slope of one scaling factor and provides directly related, predictable performance expectations as data or workloads increase.

Organizations whether they belong to a large sized organization group, mid sized or small-scale enterprises cadre, the key business question remains the maximization of the Return on Investments. There is no recipe for success yet the directions are available, it is only a matter of grabbing the right opportunity at the right time; decisions must not be only based on our intuitions rather it must be a mix of experiences and facts and figures only then we will be able to achieve what we used to read about Rational Decision Making. Organizations may like to consider investing more into technology for problem solving and analytical capabilities that will help them in rational decision making rather than investing into it only for the sake of investing. To sell the right products/services to the right customers will only be possible once we have a clear understanding of our customers. Operational efficiency is not sufficient to survive in such a competitive environment; datawarehouse is one excellent solution available that is helping organizations around the globe not only in strategic decisions yet also in their day-to-day tactical decision-making.