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Is it Time for a Data Mart Diet?

We’ve all heard the expression, “you can never have too much of a good thing.” But we all know that’s not quite true. For example, a little dessert is good. But too much can be a problem for your waistline.

It seems data marts also fit this pattern. A few data marts can be very helpful, but too many create a huge total cost of ownership (TCO) burden.

Fortunately, with data virtualization, you can turn physical data marts into virtual ones. And when you do, you will never have to worry about having too much of a good thing.

What’s Great about Data Marts

Data marts were developed as a complement to enterprise data warehouses. Typically subject or domain specific, and derivative of the warehouse, they provide a number of benefits including:

  • Focused Content – Narrowing the scope to a specific domain such as finance or sales simplifies reporting and analysis.
  • Query Performance – Offloading workload from the enterprise data warehouse can improve query performance.
  • Data Structure – Certain reporting tools require certain structures, for example star schemas. Data marts can easily be modeled based on these structures as an alternative to the warehouse schema.
  • Local Control – Users find it easier to control and modify data marts than larger warehouses.

Costs Can Outweigh the Benefits

Given the benefits cited above, data marts have proliferated rapidly. Unfortunately, as with deserts, “A moment on the lips can be a lifetime on the hips.” Data mart TCO is huge. Costs include:

  • Development Costs – Each data mart requires a full design, development and deployment effort.
  • Operating Costs – Not only does the data need to be refreshed regularly, all the underlying databases, database servers, ETLs and more must be monitored and tuned.
  • Change Management Costs – Adding new data to respond to business change requires extensive rebuilding of complex data mart schemas and ETL scripts, adding costs and reducing agility.
  • Data Governance and Quality Costs – Because data is physically replicated in each data mart, each mart requires data governance to ensure consistent quality.

Data Virtualization to the Rescue

As an alternative to physical data marts, many organizations now use data virtualization middleware such as the Cisco Data Virtualization Suite, to create virtual data marts. Virtual data marts provide all the benefits listed above with far lower costs.

  • Development Costs – Virtual data marts have far fewer moving parts, which lessen design, development and deployment efforts.
  • Operating Costs – Fewer moving parts also means less infrastructure to maintain.
  • Change Management Costs – Adding new data to respond to business change can be done in minutes or hours via virtualized data sets, rather than days or weeks in the physical data mart world.
  • Data Governance and Quality Costs – With data virtualization, data mart content can be centrally governed to ensure consistent quality wherever that data is used.

Try the Data Mart Diet Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 12.34.41 PM

If you agree that it makes sense to lighten up on data marts, the question is how?  In other words, what is the “Data Mart Diet?”

Fortunately Rick van der Lans, data virtualization’s leading independent analyst, has created the perfect Data Mart Diet program in his latest data virtualization white paper, “Migrating to Virtual Data Marts using Data Virtualization.”

This whitepaper include a step-by-step approach for migrating physical data marts to virtual data marts using Cisco Information Server. Steps include:

  1. Recreating Physical Data Marts as Virtual Data Marts
  2. Improving Query Performance on Virtual Data Marts
  3. Identifying Common Specifications Among Virtual Data Marts
  4. Redirecting Reports to Access Virtual Data Marts
  5. Extracting Definitions from the Reporting Tools
  6. Defining Security Rules
  7. Adding External Data to Virtual Data Marts

This guidance, along with the cost-benefit summary included at the start of the paper, make this paper a must read for organizations who are seeking a data mart diet.

 

 

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Check out the blogs of Mala AnandMike Flannagan and Nicola Villa to learn more.

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Do You Know How Much You Are Spending On Cloud? Hidden Costs of Public Cloud Can be 4-8 Times Higher than Visible Costs

Reducing costs remains amongst the top reasons why organizations use public cloud services. However, when calculating the costs of public cloud services organizations need to look well beyond the license fees and billed costs.

With Cisco Cloud Consumption Services, we have worked with numerous customers to discover their public cloud usage and analyze cloud spend. At Cisco Live Milan, taking place January 26-30, we are sharing public cloud spending trends with our customers. We have found that the hidden or soft costs of public cloud services can be four to eight times higher than visible costs. These soft costs fall in three areas and include business risk, network and security costs, as well as cloud operations and integration.

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Nexus switches simplify load balancing

Simple is rarely a word used to describe Data center or Campus networks. Network operators and administrators are often bogged down by the complexity of network design and related configuration. Cisco has an innovative solution that simplifies setting up load balancer devices. Network services like load balancers now use Remote Integrated Service Engine(RISE) on Nexus switches.  RISE enables simplified provisioning and configuration through automatic discovery and bootstrap of Citrix NetScaler Appliances.

The innovative Cisco RISE technology tightly couples external service appliances, such as the Citrix NetScaler ADC, to Cisco Nexus 7000,6000,5000,7700 Series Switches, enabling more efficient and flexible delivery for network services. Automatic discovery and bootstrap reduce administrator involvement for Appliance implementations from 30 steps to 8 steps: creating the port channel, allowing the control and data VLANs, and enabling desired Cisco RISE features on the Cisco Nexus Series Switch. RISE eliminates the need to physically connect a serial cable to configure the device through a console cable.

RISE is available on Citrix Netscaler MPX,VPX and SDX and Cisco Prime Network Analysis Module.

   Three  Simple  Steps to Configure RISE

  1. Interconnect the Citrix NetScaler with the Nexus Switch
  2. Create port-channel & set vlan(layer 2 ) configuration
  3. Create a RISE service using CLI or DCNM

Simplify using RISE

Cisco RISE integrates Citrix NetScaler as a service module within the Cisco Nexus 7000, 7700,5K,6K switch, even though it remains a physically separate device. Architecturally, this virtual service module arrangement is enabled by embedded intelligent services that securely integrate the control planes of the Citrix NetScaler ADC and Cisco Nexus Series Switches.

Building Innovation: Achieve Fast IT with Customers

Recently I had the privilege to exchange thoughts at a roundtable discussion about the Future of Managed Services with our strategic partner Presidio. I would like to share some highlights from that dynamic dialogue.

We all agreed, the services industry overall is heading to a tipping point. Managed services are becoming more attractive to IT, and consequently the demand is growing exponentially. Our discussion focused on the key factors driving this demand and what managed service providers can do to stay ahead of customers’ needs.

Business leaders have ever growing expectations for increased IT speed and responsiveness. As the pace of change in business grows ever quicker, IT needs to become “Fast IT” – delivering new solutions at a more rapid pace In order to do that, IT needs to be able to integrate and automate all support interactions that it’s responsible for delivering.

Customer needs can change in a heartbeat. To meet these needs, organizations and service models have to be more fluid in order to adapt to the ebb and flow of the customer’s business. This embodies a new type of relationship between the customer and the managed services provider. Customers may want to use one service model for a few months or for a few years, changing models as the business changes – gone are the rigid, long-term outsource agreements that lock customers into one model for many years. Ryan Jordan, VP of Managed Services at Presidio put it well:

“Customers want more flexibility from their managed services providers. It’s true that just off-loading managed services allows IT to be faster on their feet. But offering a managed service that is also flexible and responsive adds tremendously to the goals of Fast IT.”

A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in an era of ever changing business needs. For instance, rolling out a new application and updating the infrastructure to support the trading desks for a global financial services company requires a different service approach from supporting the operations for a hospital.

A standardized cookie-cutter approach gives you better economies of scale, which supports profitability, but can sacrifice the opportunity to customize offerings by industry or customer. This can affect your competitiveness. The future of managed services is in tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of customers and can adjust as the relationship develops over time.

Presidio and Cisco are working together to implement a new model – built on a foundation of real-time service integration. In this model customers, managed service providers and the technology vendors are all connected in real-time. It creates a new level of transparency and collaboration, speeding resolution times and ensuring all parties have a common view of what’s happening as its happening.

I encourage you to watch the video and read the case study to learn more:

 

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Analytics Solutions for Driving Better Business Outcomes

When you hear a statistic like ‘87 % of enterprises believe that analytics will redefine the competitive landscape of their industries within the next three years,’ two things become clear. First, we no longer need to make the business case for big data and analytics: enterprises clearly understand the value. Second, the next three years will be a whirlwind of data-driven innovation.

Line of Business and IT executives alike are feeling a new level of urgency to identify the right analytics use cases for their business and deploy them quickly. Having a Hadoop-based solution that’s fueled by a highly-scalable and intelligent infrastructure is a good start.  But, what do you do next to put your company on the fast track to implementing pervasive use of game-changing analytics solutions throughout your company?

Cisco would like to help you answer those questions. Join us for our February 24th webcast: Analytics Solutions for Driving Better Business Outcomes: Let Cisco and Leading Analytics Partners Help You Accelerate Big Data Insights at 9am PT to hear how several analytics leaders are enabling exciting innovations to the analytics market. Learn how Cisco is working with them to integrate their breakthrough solutions with our end-to-end big data and analytics infrastructure so our customers can speed solutions to market, reduce risks, and have the freedom to work with the software providers that best suit their business.

Hear about joint analytics innovations from the following analytics leaders:

  • Splunk’s VP, Shay Mowlem, will talk about how Splunk and Cisco are innovating to put the power of machine data-driven intelligence into the hands of more users, more securely and cost-effectively
  • Pete Schlampp, VP of Product Development at Platfora,  will discuss how their easy to use, 100% native Hadoop analytics environment running on a Cisco infrastructure is providing better access to all forms of data in Hadoop and speeding delivery of insights to non-technical users.
  • David Besemer, CTO of Cisco Data Virtualization, will highlight how our data virtualization software allows organizations to easily access different types of data, from dispersed data locations, using varied access technologies, for a wide range of users
  • David Parker, Global Vice President, Big Data & Internet of Things at SAP will talk about how the enterprise application leader is working with Cisco to provide customers with a single, integrated view of transactional, analytics, and big data, and enabling predictive analytics.
  • And Russell Cobb VP Global Marketing and Alliances at SAS, will talk about how, the analytics industry leader is deploying rich IoT and data-driven analytics solutions running on a Cisco infrastructure to optimize business processes.

I hope you’ll join us to learn about how you can make the most out of your data to start redefining your own competitive landscape!#UnlockBigData

register now

Tags: big data, analytics, UCS, ACI, Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Unlock Big Data, Platfora, SAS, SAP, Splunk, Cisco Data Virtualization, Data Virtualization