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The Logical Data Warehouse: Smart Consolidation for Smarter Warehousing

October 24, 2011

 

I’ve previously written how in the early part of 2011 we worked with technology and marketing leaders across IBM’s portfolio to define and launch a new strategy for data warehousing and analytics. Our objective is to meet today’s enterprise needs with agility to deal with whatever the future brings – flexibly, simply and without requiring that our customers overhaul their data center infrastructures.

It’s called “Smart Consolidation for Smarter Warehousing”. We launched the strategy at the IBM Netezza “Enzee Universe” conference in Boston in June after discussing it at length with industry analysts and several “legacy” Netezza and IBM customers. Since then we've briefed several hundred folks, including more analysts, legacy IBM and Netezza customers and new prospects. The message has almost universally been well received and we've used the feedback from those interactions to fine-tune the strategy and to focus on how to make it both "real" and "simple".

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Smart Consolidation figures prominently at this year’s IBM IOD 2011 show.

We think now is the time to show actual progress –real integration of IBM portfolio assets that demonstrates how customers can begin their evolution to the Logical Data Warehouse at the heart of Smart Consolidation.

This blog is not a primer on IBM’s view of how to get to the Logical Data Warehouse: demos (check out the “Data Bridge” demo in the Expo Hall, MR05), briefings (IDW-3406, etc.) and a whitepaper provide that information for IOD attendees and others.

These are my reflections on why Smart Consolidation matters.

Why Do We Need Smart Consolidation?
As a separate company and continuing as a part of the IBM portfolio, Netezza has succeeded by trading off the inflexibilities and limitations of traditional approaches to data warehousing. We’ve found clients on those systems who are frustrated by their inability to adapt to changing requirements or to scale with increased data or analytics needs.

Providing appliance-simple, leading price-performance for analytic warehouse workloads, we’ve been able to deploy Netezza appliances to well over 500 clients worldwide.

But the industry is undergoing a change. While data volumes, data types and applications continue to rush at enterprise business leaders and IT staffs at ever-increasing rates, using that data to compete, and in ever-shrinking time windows to act upon it, has become an existential reality. The need to deal effectively with “big data” and weave it into the fabric of the enterprise’s analytic infrastructure is fast-becoming a requirement across the industry.

How fast is this happening? I haven’t taken a scientific poll but I would hazard a guess that very few CIOs and data managers would have predicted as recently as five or six years ago that Big Data and analytical techniques like MapReduce and NoSQL would in 2011 be seriously considered as part of their enterprise data analytic solution set, even among risk-averse enterprises. Sitting here right now, today, how confident would those same individuals be that can predict what’s coming in the next five years?

What is knowable is that the notion of the über-warehouse – the single-system, monolithic “version of the truth and center of all things analytic” has largely proven ill-equipped to deal with all this variety and volume. Its complexity has led to missed SLAs, slow adoption of new analytic applications and near constant tuning and systems’ management. Failure of the single warehouse concept creates a sprawl - sometimes numbered in the thousands - of departmental workarounds: special one-off systems, data marts, sandboxes and spread-marts with little or sometimes no governance tie-in to the über-system. Smart Consolidation is a response to that reality.

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Focused on intelligently consolidating data while distributing computation to specialized elements best-suited to the task, the evolution to the Logical Data Warehouse provides a flexible data analytics platform regardless of the workloads required.

Our clients will benefit from greater agility and better analytics performance with a faster time to value and simple, data delivery, operations and governance. In short, Smarter Warehousing and Analytics. That’s the mission of Smart Consolidation.

Now I invite you to come check it out and let us know what you think. I’ll see many of you in Vegas for this week’s IBM IOD conference – not surprisingly, I’ll be spending lots of time talking about Smart Consolidation and Netezza to IBM’s prospects, customers and partners.

I hope to see and hear from you, either in Vegas or by and by.