Modern businesses and cloud
If you’re considering a cloud data warehouse provider, you probably already know that a cloud data warehouse presents an excellent value proposition. Data warehouses bring analysis and computational capabilities that help create rich, actionable business insights. These insights can then drive benefits across the organization in the areas of product and service optimization, business planning & strategy, improved customer experience, and ultimately Customer 360.
Plus, cloud data warehouses keep costs low, avoid overhead and maintenance, and take advantage of blazingly fast and accessible cloud technology. So, here are a few important things to keep in mind when you are trying to evaluate cloud data warehouse providers.
What does migrating into aWhat is a cloud data warehouse provider?
A cloud data warehouse provider delivers data warehouse capabilities as a fully managed service on the public cloud. This is optimized for ease of use and access, fast and complex data analysis, and ease of scaling. Currently, some of the most popular cloud data warehouse provider options include:
- Google BigQuery
- Amazon Redshift
- Microsoft Azure
To fully understand what a cloud data warehouse provider is, you may first need to understand the features of a data warehouse and its advantages. First and foremost, a data warehouse is a storage system for data optimized to store structured data and primed for quick and easy data operations, like query and analysis. The primary purpose of storing data in a data warehouse is the ability to perform these operations, then generate business insights through data analysis.
The business upsides of having a data warehouse infrastructure are often countered by the downsides of having the data warehouses on-premise. Why? On-premise data warehouses involve heavy costs related to the purchase and upkeep of all the hardware and software needed to create and maintain them. Plus, there are additional overhead costs, and it can be difficult to scale up when demand arises. Companies with on-premise data warehouses can get caught focusing on scaling and managing hardware instead of generating strategic business insights.
These are all problems that can be solved by opting for a cloud data warehouse provider.
What are the key considerations in evaluating a cloud data warehouse provider?
The most important parameters to keep in mind while trying to evaluate the merits and demerits of specific cloud data warehouse providers and their service offerings are performance, access, and scalability.
The primary objective of operating a cloud data warehouse is the ability to quickly generate actionable business insights from your data. So, performance should be your prime criteria while evaluating cloud data warehouse providers. To this end, you need to take a look at how fast queries can be run on the data, ranging from simple to complex.
A key part of running data analysis operations using a data warehouse is to be able to quickly access data from different, disparate sources and to run multiple analysis operations. You need to ensure that your data analysts have full and unfettered access to the data they need at all times. However, this needs to be accomplished while keeping all relevant data security and privacy concerns in mind. The right cloud service provider would offer you a balance between ease of access and data security.
One of the chief reasons for taking your data warehouse to the cloud is the ease of scaling up, versus the problems associated with scaling up an on-premise data warehouse. The typical time frame for on-premise infrastructure sizing, setup and activation can be 6+ weeks, hence not only can it be expensive to scale up by adding the requisite additional hardware and storage, but it can also take a long time — during which your data analysis operations might come to a halt. With cloud data warehouse providers, look for automatic scaling in order to enjoy a massive speed advantage and avoid problems like over-provisioning or under-provisioning.
Choosing the right cloud service provider for your data warehousing requirements involves understanding that while different service providers share similarities, they each bring something unique to the table. According to your business needs, review their unique features carefully before coming to a conclusion.
Here are some steps to take in order to arrive at the best choice:
Consider your business use case
The unique circumstances of your organization may dictate your choice. For example, if your source systems have CSV or unstructured data files using JSON, then NOSQL is more optimal and can easily integrate with Snowflake.
Consider security and compliance requirements
Your move to the cloud needs to keep security and compliance requirements intact. Take a look at security features and how different providers handle data encryption.
Examine your current data ecosystem
If you already use other cloud offerings from a particular provider, it can make more sense to use the same for data warehousing to take advantage of cross-compatibility.
Understand billing and resource bundling
Explore how each provider handles billing and resource bundling. Providers with simpler pricing might bundle storage and compute together, which may not be ideal based on your needs.
Choose an experienced partner
Identify a cloud data warehouse services provider with expertise in the cloud platform you choose to help navigate and map your data journey.
How long does it take to migrate data to the cloud?
How long it takes to migrate data to the cloud depends primarily on the approach you choose to adopt. There are multiple approaches to migrating data to the cloud, some optimized for maximum speed and minimum downtime, while others focus on making the most of the powerful cloud features and functionality. In many ways, the more you prefer speed in the process, the less you can leverage the unique advantages of the cloud. In the end, it is all about balancing your approach between speed and functionality while keeping a close eye on your business requirements.
Here are three cloud migration approaches in increasing order of time taken:
- Lift and Shift
Lift and shift involves taking existing applications and dropping them on the cloud fast. This is only possible in certain use cases, and creates a quick migration because there is minimal need for architecture or code changes. You can migrate your core services in record time with simple security management and compliance. On the flip side, there can be migration risks, the possibility of migration failure, and inefficient use of the cloud. Performance might not be the best, either.
This involves modifying applications for the cloud to some degree, but nowhere near a complete re-architecturing. This is cost-efficient and brings cloud-native functionality to the table.
This involves complete rearchitecting of applications while moving to the cloud. While this is complex and time-consuming, you get the most in terms of cloud-native functionality and benefits.