There’s a lot of buzz about moving to the cloud, but what are the real benefits? Let’s look a little more closely into the problems that migrating to the cloud can solve.
The traditional data warehouse
Traditional data warehouses involve a lot of infrastructure, a lot of cost, and a lot of people. If you have a traditional data warehouse, you're already (or about to become) familiar with the long list of tasks and responsibilities related to its care and upkeep. For example, maintaining the infrastructure to host software, hardware, and networks, creating redundant systems to ensure you don't lose data, and hiring and training in-house IT experts to maintain and secure these systems.
As security breaches become an increasing problem, the list grows to include purchasing and maintaining security software and staff to monitor for attacks. Not only that, but you’ll need to configure your system to meet security compliance standards. And of course as your business grows, so does the need for increased infrastructure and manpower.
Why move to the cloud?
Cloud-based warehouses can eclipse a traditional on-premise data warehouse in terms of speed, reliability, and security. Let's see how moving to the cloud can help with some common data warehouse scenarios.
Scenario: Your hardware and software is becoming outdated, but it's going to be expensive to replace them.
Cloud service infrastructure affords you flexibility and the best equipment in the industry: the newest high-end processors, the most optimized RAM memory, petabit networking, SSD storage, arrays of GPUs, and even cloud programmable hardware.
Scenario: Your company is growing, and you want to add teams in different geographies, but the thought of the complexity of connecting all your systems and incorporating security is giving you a headache.
Outsourcing your data warehouse means that you remove the complexity of connecting systems in multiple geographies. Your data warehouse is stored in the cloud, and team members can easily connect, run queries, and generate reports from wherever they are in the world.
Easy to set up
Scenario: You want to change data warehouse solutions, but it seems expensive and complex.
Setting up a new data warehouse can be daunting. It takes time, lots of testing, and trial and error to get it right. But, when you move your data warehouse to the cloud, you have an instant team of experts to help set up your solution.
Scenario: You recently purchased another company and you need to incorporate their data to your warehouse.
Cloud data warehouse solutions can be tuned to many types of uses. For example, some solutions allow you to pay for only the data storage you use. This makes your solution infinitely flexible.
Scalability and high performance
Scenario: During periods of heavy traffic, like when quarterly reports are due, your system resources are strained and performance is slow. You want to scale resources at these times.
One of the biggest advantages of having your data warehouse in the cloud is scalability. Some cloud data warehouses enable you to add new nodes on the fly. Others make it simple to resize a cluster. For example, BigQuery supports scaling up to a petabyte. This makes the ebbs and flows in your workload appear seamless to users.
Scenario: You are rattled after seeing other companies experience damaging data breaches, and you want to increase security for your data warehouse.
Cloud service providers, such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Snowflake, must meet the highest security standards in the industry set by health, financial, and government institutions. This makes it easy to obtain certifications like SOC2, ISO27001, HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI. Further, authentication, authorization, logging, and auditing is also built into all cloud platforms.
Virtual team of experts
Scenario: You have limited resources, and you can't afford to hire the experts you'd like to support your data warehousing needs.
When you buy a cloud solution, you get a virtual team as a part of the bargain — engineers, project managers, and a SOC team. Not only that, but the teams are deep experts in their product, so downtime for training isn’t an issue.
Like any project, you’ll need to spend time planning and researching. Which product is most scalable? Which product has the best BI capability? Moving to the cloud offers cost savings, efficiency, scalability and security; but, you’ll need to decide which solutions are best suited for your business. For a comparison of different data warehouse solutions, see our guide on Selecting the Right Cloud Data Warehouse.
Three steps to cloud success
Now that you’ve picked a solution, you’ll need to get planning. Industry experts refer to the next phases as design, migrate, and validate.
Design. Develop your data integration plan. Consider how you will handle your existing solution and the steps to migrate. You may need to repurchase software, re-architect your data, and determine which software to keep and which to get rid of. And you may need to plan for some downtime.
Migrate. Implement a data pipeline, extract, transform, and then load (ETL) your data into your new cloud data warehouse.
Validate. Validate that your data was moved successfully. Verify that the new system performs under heavy load and at optimal speeds.
Alooma can be a critical piece of this solution. We’re a modern ETL pipeline designed from the ground up to work perfectly with today's cloud data warehouses. Alooma helps companies of every size make their cloud data warehouses work for any use case, and our experts are knowledgeable about the various nuances of the different data warehouse solutions.
Contact us today to see how we can help.