Logical data warehouses, driven by data virtualization, are the force of the future. Yet while many BI specialists have embraced the logical data warehouse in theory, they struggle with the actual practical application of data virtualization. Some seem to feel that data virtualization has replaced the existing data warehouse and wonder whether data virtualization genuinely offers the simple solution it promises and really improves the performance of source systems. And is it really true that you require less expertise in developing logic and modelling the information model? All these questions make clear that it’s about time to shed light on the essence and benefits of data virtualization, since a logical data warehouse without data virtualization never lives up to its full potential.
There is no doubt, then, that something has got to give. Data warehouses have proved to be somewhat inflexible: specifications tend to be scattered across the environment and providing access to the growing variety of sources – including cloud, no-SQL and web services – turns out to be challenging. Existing architectures can be slow and rigid when adjustments and extensions need to be made, and the impact of changes is substantial and generates its share of expenses for development and maintenance. All the while, of course, information users are badly in need of a flexible, adaptable environment that provides the convenience of real-time delivery.
Data Virtualization is Essential
As I explained in my previous blog entry, logical data warehouses deftly circumvent these disadvantages and actually meet the needs and requirements of today’s users, providing them with all the data they need. Logical data warehousing disconnects sources, integrating them as needed and eventually publishing them as a single, standardized information model, in batch format or real-time format or a combination of the two. Data virtualization plays a key role in this process. Specifically, data virtualization platforms enable you to disconnect source systems and can ostensibly create a single point for data users that provides them access to all information sources relevant to the organization.
Data virtualization provides a slew of benefits. Since it enables you to easily and straightforwardly record and update business rules, you can avoid the annoyance that commonly arises when the same business rules have different impacts, and the potential confusion this can cause among customers. And they don’t even need to physically adjust or replicate data, irrespective of the reporting tool they may choose to use. Data virtualization platforms such as Denodo allow you to easily offer information models as a relational database or as a web service without additional configuration. Denodo also provides direct access to the meta-data, allowing you to be fully transparent about the transformations used and the origin of the various data. This greatly improves the accessibility of the data, without the need to develop the same definitions and logic in multiple areas.
Flexible, Agile and Transparent
Data virtualization provides organizations with the flexibility they need. You can develop applications on a flexible basis, without having to contend with an intransigent IT environment, and source systems are easy to connect, eliminate or integrate. Data virtualization also allows for agile development. Data virtualization reduces your time-to-market, since it bypasses the complex and drawn-out process of creating and maintaining a data warehouse. A second advantage is that the lower level of physical management involved reduces total cost of ownership. Finally, the overall system is significantly more transparent. Most data virtualization solutions shed light on the impact of changes (i.e. impact analysis) and the origin of data (data lineage).
In other words, the data warehouse, with its proven value and strength, will continue to play a vital role. Data virtualization does not serve as a substitute and does not always provide the best solution, and in many cases a hybrid solution can substantially improve the effectiveness of your information solution. This transforms the data warehouse from a theoretical concept into a reality, creating new opportunities of value to all information users today: real-time, flexibility and simplicity, without unnecessary replication.
To learn how to maximize potential from your Logical Data Warehouse, register for the Live Webinar on January 12 at 3:00pm CET, “Making the Logical Data Warehouse a Reality”.
This blog was penned by Jonathan Wisgerhof, Senior Architect, Kadenza
- How Much Time Could Your Company Save If You Said Goodbye to Data Migration? - January 30, 2019
- Get Ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), with Data Virtualization - May 24, 2018
- Data Virtualization is a Revenue Generator - September 20, 2017