A Better Alternative to Data Warehousing

Data warehouses are typically used for reporting and data analysis. They are central vaults for large amounts of data, created by gathering data from several other sources.

Data warehouses store both past and present data which is later used for reporting and forecasting purposes. The conventional process for using this data is ETL; extract, transform, load.

How Does ETL Work?

When it comes to the subject of data warehousing, ETL processes generally involve:

  • Extracting data from remote sources
  • Transforming that data to suit operational needs
  • Loading the data into the end data warehouse

In the past, it was standard procedure to implement a BI project using ETL and a data warehouse.

This is no longer the case.

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A More Useful Option

InetSoft's full business intelligence suite, Style Intelligence, exists as a low-cost alternative to ETL and data warehouses.

Agile BI

InetSoft aims to provide the most agile alternative on the market.

Style Intelligence achieves true business agility by following three tenets of BI philosophy:

  1. Self-service
  2. Flexibility
  3. Data mashup
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Learn how InetSoft's data intelligence technology is central to delivering efficient business intelligence.

Self-Service BI

Style Intelligence is designed around the fact that not everyone in an organization has a computer science degree.

Traditionally, most business users have had to rely on IT to access key decision making-information. This process not only creates costly delays in decision-making, but also put unnecessary strain on the IT department.

Style Intelligence offers a business environment in which business users no longer need to rely on IT, but instead can access and manipulate data on their own.

Flexible BI

Setting up an ETL process is cumbersome and time consuming. InetSoft's solution reduces the resources and overhead cost of establishing an ETL process by allowing users to experiment with new data on the spot.

End-User Data Mashup

InetSoft eliminates initial data warehouse creation efforts through data mashup. This solution allows users to rapidly add new sources from disparate data locations and analyze data side-by-side through both dashboards and reports.

Read the top 10 reasons for selecting InetSoft as your BI partner.

What Are the Costs of Purchasing and Maintaining a Data Warehouse?

Acquiring and maintaining a data warehouse involves several costs, both upfront and ongoing. It's important to consider these expenses when planning for the implementation of a data warehouse. Keep in mind that the specific costs can vary widely depending on factors like the size of the organization, the complexity of the data infrastructure, and the chosen technology stack. Here's a comprehensive breakdown of the costs associated with a data warehouse:

  1. Hardware and Software Costs:

    • Hardware: This includes the physical servers and storage devices needed to host the data warehouse. It can be on-premises, in the cloud, or a combination (hybrid).
    • Software: This covers the licenses and subscriptions for the data warehouse software itself. Some popular data warehousing solutions include Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and Snowflake.
  2. Data Integration and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load):

    • ETL Tools: Depending on the complexity of your data sources, you may need specialized ETL tools. These tools help in extracting data from various sources, transforming it into a usable format, and then loading it into the data warehouse.
    • Data Integration Services: This includes the cost of services or personnel responsible for setting up and maintaining data pipelines.
  3. Implementation and Development:

    • Consulting or Professional Services: Many organizations require the assistance of consultants or specialists to design and implement the data warehouse architecture, especially for complex projects.
  4. Training and Education:

    • Employee Training: It's essential to train the staff who will be working with the data warehouse. This includes training on ETL processes, data modeling, querying, and more.
  5. Data Quality and Governance:

    • Data Quality Tools: These tools help in ensuring that the data in the warehouse is accurate, consistent, and reliable. They might include data profiling, data cleansing, and data validation tools.
    • Governance Framework: Establishing data governance policies and practices is crucial for maintaining data integrity.
  6. Security and Compliance:

    • Security Measures: This includes the cost of implementing security measures to protect the data warehouse from unauthorized access or cyber threats.
    • Compliance Costs: Depending on your industry, there might be specific regulatory requirements that you need to adhere to.
  7. Scaling and Upgrades:

    • Scaling Costs: As your data volume grows, you may need to scale your data warehouse. This could involve upgrading hardware, increasing storage capacity, or moving to a larger cloud instance.
    • Software Upgrades: Regular updates and patches for the data warehouse software.
  8. Monitoring and Maintenance:

    • Monitoring Tools: Tools for tracking performance, uptime, and usage of the data warehouse.
    • Maintenance Costs: Routine tasks like backups, data consistency checks, and general system maintenance.
  9. Licensing and Subscription Fees:

    • Renewal Fees: If you're using a cloud-based data warehouse, you'll have ongoing subscription fees based on usage.
  10. Opportunity Costs:

    • Time and Resources: Consider the time and resources spent on data warehouse implementation and maintenance that could have been allocated to other projects.
  11. Customization and Additional Features:

    • Custom Development: If you require custom features or functionalities, there could be additional development costs.
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What Are Some Options for Avoiding a Data Warehouse?

  1. Data Lakes:

    • Description: A data lake is a storage repository that can hold vast amounts of raw data in its native format. It allows for both structured and unstructured data to be stored at any scale.
    • Advantages:
      • Flexibility in handling diverse data types and formats.
      • Cost-effective storage of large volumes of data.
      • Enables data exploration and analysis without upfront structuring.
    • Considerations:
      • Requires strong data governance to prevent data swamp scenarios.
      • Might require specialized tools for effective querying and analytics.
  2. Real-time Data Processing Platforms:

    • Description: Platforms like Apache Kafka, Apache Flink, and Apache Spark Streaming enable the processing of data in real-time or near-real-time, without the need for persistent storage before analysis.
    • Advantages:
      • Enables immediate insights for time-sensitive applications.
      • Reduces the need for storing large volumes of historical data.
    • Considerations:
      • Requires specialized expertise in stream processing.
  3. In-memory Databases:

    • Description: These databases store data in RAM rather than on disk, allowing for extremely fast access to data.
    • Advantages:
      • High-speed data access for real-time analytics.
      • Well-suited for applications that require rapid data retrieval.
    • Considerations:
      • Limited by the amount of available RAM, which can impact scalability.
  4. NoSQL Databases:

    • Description: NoSQL databases like MongoDB, Cassandra, and Couchbase are designed to handle large volumes of unstructured or semi-structured data.
    • Advantages:
      • Flexible schema for handling various data types.
      • Scalable for high volumes of data.
    • Considerations:
      • Might not provide the same level of analytical capabilities as a data warehouse.
  5. BI Platform with a Data Mashup Engine:

    • Description: A Business Intelligence (BI) platform with a Data Mashup Engine is a software solution that combines the capabilities of BI tools with advanced data integration and transformation features. It allows users to blend, merge, and transform data from various sources for the purpose of analysis and reporting.
    • Advantages:
      • Enables users to quickly adapt to changing data requirements and integrate new data sources without heavy reliance on IT teams.
      • Helps break down silos between different data sources and departments, promoting a more holistic understanding of the business.
  6. Data Virtualization:

    • Description: Data virtualization allows organizations to access and manipulate data without physically storing it in a centralized repository. It provides a logical view of distributed data sources.
    • Advantages:
      • Reduces data duplication and storage costs.
      • Provides a unified view of data from multiple sources.
    • Considerations:
      • Performance might be impacted depending on the complexity of the virtualization.
  7. Cloud-based Analytics Services:

    • Description: Cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure offer a range of analytics services that can bypass the need for a traditional data warehouse.
    • Advantages:
      • Pay-as-you-go pricing model can be cost-effective.
      • Scalable and can handle large volumes of data.
    • Considerations:
      • May require data migration and integration efforts.
  8. Federated Data Warehouse:

    • Description: This approach involves keeping data in its source systems but providing a unified view through federation. Queries are distributed to the relevant source systems, and results are combined.
    • Advantages:
      • Minimizes data movement and storage.
      • Maintains real-time access to source data.
    • Considerations:
      • Can be complex to set up and manage.
  9. Data Fabric:

    • Description: A data fabric is a comprehensive architecture that enables seamless data integration, access, and management across multiple data sources and environments.
    • Advantages:
      • Provides a unified data layer for data access and analytics.
      • Supports data governance and security across disparate sources.
    • Considerations:
      • May require a significant initial investment in architecture and tools.
why select InetSoft
“Flexible product with great training and support. The product has been very useful for quickly creating dashboards and data views. Support and training has always been available to us and quick to respond.
- George R, Information Technology Specialist at Sonepar USA

What Is a BI Platform with a Data Mashup Engine?

A Business Intelligence (BI) platform with a Data Mashup Engine is a software solution that combines the capabilities of BI tools with advanced data integration and transformation features. It allows users to blend, merge, and transform data from various sources for the purpose of analysis and reporting. Here's a detailed breakdown of the key components:

  1. Business Intelligence Platform:

    • A BI platform provides tools and infrastructure for data analysis, visualization, and reporting. It enables users to create dashboards, generate reports, and gain insights from data.
  2. Data Mashup Engine:

    • A Data Mashup Engine is a specialized component within a BI platform that facilitates the process of combining data from multiple sources. It includes features for data integration, transformation, and blending.
  3. Key Features of a Data Mashup Engine:

    • Data Integration:

      • Allows for the extraction of data from various sources, which can include databases, spreadsheets, web services, and other structured and semi-structured data formats.
    • Data Transformation:

      • Enables users to clean, filter, aggregate, and manipulate data before it is used for analysis. This ensures that data is in a suitable format for meaningful insights.
    • Data Blending:

      • Combines data from different sources into a single dataset, allowing for more comprehensive and holistic analysis.
    • Data Enrichment:

      • Enhances raw data by adding supplementary information or calculated metrics to provide a more comprehensive view.
    • Data Quality and Governance:

      • Provides tools and features to ensure data accuracy, consistency, and compliance with organizational standards.
    • Data Cataloging and Metadata Management:

      • Helps users identify and understand the various datasets available, including information about their structure, source, and lineage.
    • Data Versioning and Lineage Tracking:

      • Allows users to trace the history of data changes, which is crucial for auditing and ensuring data integrity.
    • Data Connectivity:

      • Supports a wide range of data connectors and protocols to access data from diverse sources, including databases, cloud services, APIs, and more.
  4. Benefits of a BI Platform with Data Mashup Engine:

    • Agility and Flexibility:

      • Enables users to quickly adapt to changing data requirements and integrate new data sources without heavy reliance on IT teams.
    • Comprehensive Analysis:

      • Provides a comprehensive view of the business by bringing together data from various departments and sources.
    • Reduced Data Silos:

      • Helps break down silos between different data sources and departments, promoting a more holistic understanding of the business.
    • Improved Data Quality:

      • Allows for data cleansing and transformation, which leads to higher quality and more reliable insights.
    • Empowered Business Users:

      • Allows non-technical users to perform complex data integration and transformation tasks without relying on IT teams.
    • Faster Decision-Making:

      • Enables users to quickly combine and analyze data to make informed business decisions.

Examples of BI platforms with robust Data Mashup Engines include tools like InetSoft, Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, QlikView, and Alteryx. These platforms empower users to extract, transform, and integrate data from diverse sources, resulting in more meaningful and actionable insights.

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