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Issue 6, June 2012

Data warehouses must learn new tricks in 'big data' era

The buy vs. build debate in data warehousing has taken a wickedly humorous turn with the choice being rewritten as buy vs. suffer. To wit: Either buy packaged systems, even if some modest amount of integration is required, or suffer the pains of reinventing the wheel.  But for high-end, challenging applications integrating business intelligence (BI) data with other information such as Internet clickstream and social networking data, the pendulum is swinging back in the direction of build. The drivers? The usual suspects: growing data volumes (accompanied by high numbers of concurrent users and a high velocity of update activity), technology innovations and business opportunities. These variables are challenging old data warehouses to adapt to new environments and acquire new tactics, techniques and tricks.  Let’s look at some of the numbers. The exponential growth of data is staggering. A sense of the continuing explosion is provided by an estimate in a McKinsey Global Institute report published in May 2011 that the 800 exabytes...

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