Data Warehouse “as a Service” – A Good Pick for Mid-Sized Companies
Plenty of mid-sized businesses don’t have the time, talent, or investment dollars to manage a data warehouse environment, much less monitor and maintain these services within their own data center. That’s why companies seeking analytic capabilities are increasingly looking at cloud-based options to shift responsibilities for data warehouse ownership, administration and support to a contracted “as a service” provider.
For mid-sized businesses, cloud computing makes a lot of sense. With cloud, no longer do such businesses have to worry about procuring and maintaining and continually investing in IT resources. Now, companies that might not have been able to afford world-class infrastructure and talent can access such capabilities on a monthly or subscription basis.
Previously, a mid-sized business had three selections in terms of acquiring analytics. With the right talent, they could build their own solution from scratch, or utilize open source applications – a very impractical approach for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Another common alternative was to procure ‘off-the-shelf’ applications and/or consulting resources from mid-tier system integrators to cobble together a working solution to meet business needs. These two choices (build vs. buy) in most cases still required a company to staff and manage the service within their own data center.
A third option was to get out of the service support business altogether by contracting with a hosting provider to provide network connectivity, security, and monitoring of the data warehouse environment.
While hosting is an attractive choice, mid-sized companies still must maintain responsibility for purchasing technology assets, and application DBA support, providing backup/archive/restore activities, application tuning, and the security protection of their business intelligence assets, among other things. These data warehousing options – build, buy, and/or host are still available today.
However, some medium sized enterprises are looking to cloud computing models as a fourth option. For companies seeking analytics capabilities to manage and optimize their business with the ultimate goal of delivering value to their business and their customers, another intriguing delivery model is acquiring data warehouse resources “as a service”.
More than hosting, cloud based Data Warehousing “as a Service” (DWaaS) typically provides an integrated solution of hardware, software and services in a bundled package. These as-a-service offers may include monitoring, securing, maintenance and support for entire data warehouse environment including data integration, core data warehouse infrastructure and business intelligence applications.
DWaaS is seen as a good choice for enterprises seeking an alternative to owning, managing and investing upfront for information technology. And CIOs and CFOs for mid-sized businesses are finding “as a service” delivery models especially valuable because many lack capital budgets to acquire technology, or have trouble affording the expertise needed to run a data warehouse environment.
These are all good reasons to think about the “as a service” delivery model for data warehousing. But there are added benefits in terms of a shifting of responsibility to an “as a service” provider.
First, solution ownership in terms of capital expenditures becomes a thing of the past. No longer must CFOs worry about keeping data warehousing assets on the corporate books. With DWaaS capabilities, “solution ownership” transfers to the service provider, thus freeing up capital budgets to acquire other business assets and ultimately reduces investment risk in buying rapidly depreciating information technology.
In addition, with DWaaS, data warehouse support should be included in the service bundle. This means that DBA activities such as database and system administration, backup/archive/recovery, security and performance and capacity management are all likely included in one monthly price. ETL and BI support might also extend to monitoring of data integration jobs for completion and ensuring delivery of daily/weekly/monthly reports.
Thus, DWaaS should be a complete, integrated and managed service offer—a very appealing choice for mid-sized companies. These types of cloud based service offers are appropriate for companies that don’t have the time, resources or upfront capital expenditures to acquire advanced capabilities that were once limited to much larger type companies.
In terms of taking advantage of the power of analytics, who says big companies should have all the fun?
Paul Barsch directs marketing programs for a top ten software company. Paul has also worked in senior marketing roles for global consultancies EDS (now an HP company) and BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting). The opinions expressed here represent those of Paul Barsch, and may not necessarily represent views of employers past or present.