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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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Learn More from My Colleagues

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

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Deliver Agility with Policy

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone talks to you about Policy? Chances are, you think of rules and regulations telling you about what you cannot do while on a mobile app or online. You don’t think about Policy as a way to set you free or a way for your Service Provider to make things better for you.

Graham Finnie from Heavy Reading discusses in his new whitepaper, “Policy as a Platform: Delivering Agility & Simplicity,” how policy and charging control has come a long way in a few short years.

While past generations of policy Read More »

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Key to Service Provider Success: Transformation Through Innovation

kelly“We are going through unprecedented change in the service provider industry – and it’s increasingly becoming a mobile and cloud-based world, with competition around every corner,” Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of Cisco’s service provider business, told 70 international journalists during Cisco’s third annual Global Editors Conference in downtown San Jose earlier this week.

“Change is the lone constant,” he continued, “with several major trends driving dramatic impact on every player in the industry.”

Ahuja then chronicled several trends impacting the industry. The world has gone mobile, forever altering customer expectations and the rise in cloud computing is dramatically transforming telecom infrastructures, he noted. Also, he said machine-to-machine Internet of Everything (IoE) experiences are at the cusp of wide-scale proliferation in many markets and video continues to drive global IP traffic growth at a clip of 23 percent global CAGR.

Three Keys to Success: Increase Revenue, Reduce Opex, Enhance Service Agility

Each service provider faces unique geographic and competitive challenges, but according to Ahuja, they are all looking for three things from their technology solutions. “Operators want to improve their top lines,” he said. “They also need to reduce their spending, particularly Read More »

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New Research Identifies How to Accelerate Data Virtualization Adoption

The challenges of data management are getting exponentially harder. These ever-increasing data quantities, diversity and distribution are revolutionizing data management, opening the door for new solutions such as data virtualization.

Data virtualization fulfills a range of business demands for data, supports high iteration and fast response times, all while saving significant IT costs.

Radiant Advisors is a leading strategic research and advisory firm that helps transform today’s organizations into tomorrow’s data-driven industry leaders.  They recently teamed with Cisco to better understand the barriers experienced by companies considering data virtualization and see how companies that have already adopted data virtualization overcame them.

The Data Virtualization Adoption Dilemma

Data virtualization is an advanced technology with nearly every major research and consulting firm provides architectural blueprints that include a logical business semantic layer.

Yet only some companies have it, leaving data virtualization an often-missed opportunity for business and IT to keep pace with today’s volatile data landscape.

To achieve the benefits of data virtualization, companies need to take the leap.

Unique Research Formula

To better understand data virtualization adoption barriers, Radiant Advisors’ Research Director, Lindy Ryan, interviewed a broad, pre-adopter community to understand their perceptions and concerns.  These top-of-mind issues were then posited to companies that have already adopted data virtualization, who then anonymously shared the insights, best practices, and lessons they learned in overcoming barriers to data virtualization adoption.

The resulting research report, Overcoming Barriers to Data Virtualization Adoption, consolidated these findings into clear counsel intended to guide potential adopters to overcome perceived barriers.

Read The Research

Download Overcoming Barriers to Data Virtualization Adoption here.

 

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To learn more about Cisco Data Virtualization, check out our page.

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The Foundation for a Business Relevant Network

With the growing influx of new mobile devices, connected things, bandwidth intensive applications and more data, the network is more relevant to business success than ever before.  Back in June of 2012, Cisco saw that we needed to move away from multiple network systems loosely linked together to an agile and simple infrastructure, streamlined policy and centralized management would be needed to support new business demands. We called it Cisco Unified Access and we aligned the solution to three pillars: One Network, One Policy and One Management.

For the last few years, we have focused on delivering new products and functionality under this Unified Access model. Below is a timeline of products released as part of the Unified Access framework. Cisco lead the way in delivering gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi., converged wireless control in access switches and through the acquisition of Meraki – a complete cloud-managed network solution.

foundation

The timeline above doesn’t represent every feature and function we have delivered, but it shows Cisco’s commitment to this Unified Access model, both from a cloud-managed and on-premise solution perspective.

Today, Cisco is announcing a number of new products and new functionality to existing products that will help mobilize the workforce, secure the business and increase IT agility. The announcement includes the following: Read More »

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