TDWI and HP Webinar: Modernizing the Data Warehouse

After a couple of mediocre webinars, it was nice to see TDWI get back on track. This week’s seminar was sponsored by HP Vertica and discussed Data Warehousing Modernization. The speakers were Philip Russom, from TDWI, and Steve Sarsfield, Product Marketing Manager, HP Vertica.

Philip led with the five key reasons organizations need to modernize Enterprise Data Warehouses (EDWs):

  • Analytics
  • Scale
  • Speed
  • Productivity
  • Cost Control

He pointed out that TDWI research show the first three to be far more of a key focus for companies than that others. One key point was that cost control should have more of an impact than it does. Mr. Russom pointed out that even if your EDW peforms properly today, much of the new technology is based on open source and less expensive servers, so a rethink of your warehouse can bring clear ROI, as he pointed out with ““Modernization is a great opportunity to rethink economics.”

Another major point was the simple fact, overlooked by many zealots, that EDWs aren’t going anywhere. Sure, there are newer technologies that allow for analytics straight from operational data stores (ODSs) and other places, but there will always be a place for the higher latency accumulation of information that is the EDW.

After that setup, Steve Sarsfield gave the expected sponsor pitch for how HP Vertica helps companies modernize. It’s also good to say that his presentation was better than most. It walked the right line, avoiding the overly-salesy and too technical extremes of many sponsor pitches.

Sarsfield’s main point is that Hadoop is great for ODSs but implementations still haven’t gotten up to speed in joins and other data manipulation capabilities seen in the mature SQL environment. He described HP Vertica as having the following key components:

 TDWI HP Vertica Secret Sauce

I think the only one that needs explanation is the last, Projections. If not, please let me know and I’ll expand on the others. Projections are, simply put, the HP method for replacing indices. Columnar databases don’t provide the index structures that standard RDMS systems based on rows provide.

It was a good overview that should bring HP into the mix for anyone looking to modernize their EDW environment.

The final point that came up during Q&A was about Big Data. It’s one many folks have made, but we know how much you listen to analysts pontificating…

Philip Russom pointed out, as many have, that Big Data isn’t about the size of the data but about managing the complexity of modern data. He did that point pitching the most recent TDWI Best Practices Report, Evolving Data Warehouse Architectures in the  Age of Big Data. What Philip pointed out was that the judges regularly came back with clear opinions that complexity was more important than database size. Very large databases where people were just doing aggregations of columns weren’t interesting. It was the ability to link to multiple sources and provide advanced insight through analytics that the judges felt most reflected the power in the concept of Big Data.

All told, it was a smooth and informative presentation that hopefully helped its IT audience understand a bit more about the issues involved in modern data warehousing. It was time well spent.

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