Data Warehousing Appliances Reaching Maturity

Black Box : As in most of MPPs, DWAs remove the need for the IT department to buy the hardware, buy the database management system separately, install the DBMS, and utilize the time of a qualified database administrator to maximize the performance of the system across all nodes.

DWAs are called appliances because they are packaged as one. The IT organization should not have to worry about anything except the physical design of the database and its most efficient implementation across the designated nodes. As such, DWAs should not be considered a hardware solution. They are truly a hybrid appliance.

Massive Data : DWA systems are designed to handle multi-terabytes of data easily. As such, if you have large amounts of data and not as much dollars, this might be the right option for you.

Flexibility : You’d like to build an enterprise warehouse? Fine. You already have an enterprise DW and want to build small data marts? Fine. You have no DW solutions and want try your hand in building new ones? Fine. Either way, it is not going to cost you much.

Real-Time Data Warehousing : DWA also allow for supporting the current trend of real-time and near real-time data warehousing. Due to their price structure, scalability, and flexibility, data warehouse appliances provide the tools to support operational applications easily and quickly.

Even though these benefits are obvious, there are, however, always two sides to every story. As much as I love the concept and think that there are great gems in the market, this is not a silver-bullet response to all needs. The main drawback, of course, is the physical and power capacity of the organization’s data center to store and support the nodes. Some organizations are running out of room and/or energy in their data centers and providing the space, energy, and cooling to outfit 40, 60 or more nodes could be a major problem.

As always, we’d need to carefully analyze the short- and long-term needs of our organization, and decide on the right set of tools that would support both.

If you decide on implementing a data warehouse appliance solution, I strongly recommend researching several products in the market and performing your due diligence on each. After narrowing the search down to a few finalists, establish real-life proofs-of-concept for each. It is only then that an organization will be able to select the true DWA product that would be able to support them as a long term partner.

Formerly the CEO of Seena Technologies, Majid Abai is now the EVP and director of Information Management and SOA practices for the technology consultancy Crescent Enterprise Solutions, which bought Seena in August. During the past 24 years, he has focused on providing enterprise IT & data strategies as well as implementation of major business intelligence (BI), knowledge management (KM), master data management (MDM), and data integration (DI) solutions to Fortune 2000 organizations.