Bringing cloud-based modernization to data warehousing and analytics

Big Data Evangelist, IBM

Modern enterprise data warehouses (EDWs) are increasingly "virtualizing into the cloud." That's what a big-shot industry analyst blogged almost five years ago.


In late 2009, that analyst, who has long since faded into obscurity, stated the following: "To support flexible mixed-workload analytics, the EDW, over the coming 5 to 10 years, will evolve into a virtualized cloud that allows data to be transparently persisted in diverse physical and logical formats to an abstract, seamless grid of interconnected memory and disk resources that can support diverse workloads, latencies and topologies."

Interestingly, he didn't prophesize that other EDW deployment approaches would become obsolete as the cloud option grew in importance. What he said sounds suspiciously close to what we see happening everywhere: the prevalence of hybrid cloud architectures that integrate public and private cloud deployments in various ways. "The industry is moving inevitably toward cloud-based services that supplement appliances, licensed software and other deployment options."

The recent announcement of IBM dashDB confirms that prophecy, and goes beyond in terms the flexibility and functionality of what we're rolling out. Let's look at the chief innovations included in this announcement:

  • Agility: dashDB facilitates agile scaling of data volumes and processing speeds within cloud-based EDWs
  • Automation: dashDB delivers the benefits of EDW load-and-go with no manual tuning
  • Choice: dashDB is available now as a cloud-based EDW service available either in IBM Bluemix and as an open beta in Cloudant
  • Comprehensiveness: dashDB stores and processes multistructured sources and supports easy synchronization of JSON to structured data
  • Convergence: dashDB supports OLTP transactions and EDW analytics in the same cloud database
  • Efficiency: dashDB accelerates efficient, in-database parallel processing of analytic algorithm libraries, including Netezza Analytics and Cloudant Analytics, in the cloud
  • Extensibility: dashDB enables DB2 customers to extend their in-memory analytic environments and PureData System for Analytics (PDA) customers to extend their premises-based EDW analytic platforms to the cloud
  • Interoperability: dashDB works seamlessly with advanced analytic tooling such as R, self-service cloud applications such as IBM Watson Analytics or any standard business intelligence tool and self-service cloud data-refinery solutions such as IBM DataWorks
  • Performance: dashDB supports built-in low-latency EDW performance with IBM in-memory, columnar technology, actionable compression and hardware acceleration
  • Savings: dashDB eliminates the need for customers to invest in EDW infrastructure
  • Security: dashDB provides tight enterprise-grade security for sensitive data on the SoftLayer Secure Cloud Infrastructure
  • Simplicity: dashDB supports on-demand, pay-as-you-go deployment of very large EDWs in hours with rapid provisioning in the SoftLayer cloud
  • Stability: dashDB provides a robust, fully managed EDW solution in the cloud
  • Versatility: dashDB supports EDW hub, analytic mart, test/development and staging/refinery deployment models

Over the coming year, IBM will roll out additional enhancements in dashDB, including larger storage volumes, additional analytic algorithms and more external solution and partner integrations.

The bottom line on dashDB is that it ensures that infrastructure doesn't stand in the way of customers realizing fast value from an agile EDW. Many smaller and mid-sized users have little EDW infrastructure to begin with, so a public cloud service might make perfect sense for them as an on-ramp. And many larger enterprises can benefit from robust cloud-based platforms that supplement on-premises platforms within their multi-tier EDW infrastructure.

And this is far from IBM's only offering in the emerging market for cloud-based big data and analytics services. Over the summer we rolled out cloud-based versions of most of our data platforms on Bluemix.

Just like dashDB, these are available to customers right now and will continue to be enhanced to meet customers' evolving requirements.

Learn more about keeping data warehouse infrastructure out of your way with IBM dashDB today.