Blogs

Agile Analytics for All

Bluemix Analytics Warehouse unlocks advanced analytics infrastructure for end users of all stripes

Sr. Technical Marketing Analyst, IBM

Speed is a vital imperative in today’s business climate. For organizations seeking a fast and agile way to analyze very large data sets, IBM® DB2® with BLU Acceleration data management represents a tremendous leap forward in intelligent, in-memory database analytics. However, BLU Acceleration provides a more comprehensive approach than just analysis of in-memory, columnar data.

BLU Acceleration is now generally available through the cloud computing–based IBM Bluemix™ Analytics Warehouse platform1 as a service, or as a stand-alone complimentary beta trial from the BLU Acceleration microsite.2 The Bluemix platform provides an outstanding cloud environment for developing and deploying applications.

Bluemix Analytics Warehouse is designed to deliver in-memory analytics in an efficient, cloud-based implementation that can be utilized by line-of-business users, experienced database administrators (DBAs), and other IT and business professional users. It enables business analysts, data scientists, and others who may not necessarily be as familiar as seasoned DB2 practitioners to perform more advanced data analysis than they typically can do using spreadsheets.

It also is offered as a service that is well suited for advanced analytics in Bluemix-developed applications. For example, an integrated R development environment enables statistical computing models to be run against data in Bluemix Analytics Warehouse for advanced predictive modeling capabilities.

 

Minimizing complexity

Bluemix Analytics Warehouse offers a built-in, web-based graphical user interface (GUI) to easily manage the database, allowing end users to perform core tasks, such as creating tables, loading data, running queries, and more. In addition, Bluemix Analytics Warehouse provides the following tools and additions to provide enterprise-class capabilities that comply with many existing corporate standards:

  • R integration for statistical analysis
  • IBM InfoSphere® Data Architect software to design new database schemas or reverse engineer existing schemas
  • IBM Data Studio for developing and administering DB2 databases
  • IBM Database Conversion Workbench to easily move data from Oracle or DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows
  • Encryption for data at rest and data in motion
  • Automatic discovery of sensitive data

Bluemix Analytics Warehouse also synchronizes easily with the IBM Cloudant JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data layer and includes the robust built-in security of DB2. A significant amount of this functionality can be delivered without exposing end users to database complexity. For example, to load data, end users simply point to a file—such as an ASCII-delimited file or an Excel spreadsheet file—and have Bluemix Analytics Warehouse generate an appropriate table data definition language (DDL) and load the data. End users can modify the DDL, but in most cases the underlying command that actually loads the data is neither relevant nor necessary to understand. In effect, this approach makes Bluemix Analytics Warehouse easily accessible to end users at almost any level.

 

Maximizing agility

Experienced DBAs and professionals familiar with DB2 can benefit from the agility of a cloud-based implementation of DB2 with BLU Acceleration. Bluemix Analytics Warehouse is designed to deploy an analytics environment in less than an hour,3 which requires no tuning or investment in infrastructure upgrades. Because DB2 works behind the scenes, all the familiar business intelligence (BI), extract-transform-load (ETL), and query tools that currently work with DB2 also work with Bluemix Analytics Warehouse. These tools can provide most of the same flexibility and fast, cost-effective functionality that many DB2 practitioners are used to having in their environments.

Bluemix Analytics Warehouse technology can be applied to many typical use cases. For instance, the service can be used as an analytics layer for applications built within the Bluemix environment on a cloud-based platform. Analytics Warehouse can also be used to augment on-premises systems with cloud-based data marts for specific projects. For applications requiring additional capabilities such as limited use IBM Cognos® Business Intelligence software licenses or industry warehouse packs, there is also a stand-alone offering—still in beta—outside of Bluemix, which offers these capabilities. End users can choose from an extensive library of other Bluemix services to provide additional functionality.

Creating on-demand development and test environments is another common use case to which BLU Acceleration can be applied. Organizations can leverage this deployment for cloud-based analytics proofs of concept, helping obviate the need to procure on-premises infrastructure for such purposes.

 

Opening up analytics for the masses

The innovation of processing next-generation, column-based data without having to first decompress it, which has been available in DB2 with BLU Acceleration data management, is now offered in Bluemix Analytics Warehouse. This cloud-based implementation provides an analytics infrastructure that is practical for a wide range of end users, from line-of-business users and data scientists to DBAs and IT professionals with considerable DB2 experience and expertise.

Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments.

1 IBM Bluemix website.
2,3 IBM BLU Hub microsite.