The Data Virtualization Gold Standard

Robert Eve

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BigData: Article

Practical Ways to Use Data Virtualization with Data Warehouse Appliances

Lessons from the Netezza Enzee Universe User Conference

Advanced analytics are hot!

Big data is huge!

Both of these topics came together in full view at the Netezza's Enzee Universe annual user conference this week in Boston. With so much business excitement around analytics and IT excitement around big data, there was tremendous energy at the event.

Data Virtualization Was a Hidden Theme
Hidden below the surface, yet somewhat appropriate given how it works to transparently access, combine, abstract and deliver data, data virtualization was also an important theme with this leading-edge user community.

Combining data virtualization and data warehouse appliances has a number of benefits including improved business performance, greater business and IT agility, and lower costs which are more fully described in How Data Virtualization Increases Business Intelligence Agility and Five Ways Data Virtualization Improves Data Warehousing.

Because Netezza is the biggest player in the data warehouse appliance market, this event was a great way to consider practical implementations the data virtualization / data warehouse appliance combination.

Augment Netezza with Real-time Data
Netezza users were very interested in integrating operational data with their data warehouse data. This provides significantly more flexibility in reporting and analytics by not requiring all the data to be physically combined in advance. Data virtualization easily combines additional sources for example external data from outside suppliers or up-to-the-minute data that won't get to the warehouse until tomorrow.

Federate Multiple Netezza Appliances
Federating multiple Netezza data warehouse appliances was especially relevant for this user community for obvious reasons. Many IT departments attending already had multiple Netezza systems and nearly all planned to add even more. Continuity and visibility across these systems was an absolute must have. Netezza announced the Netezza Data Virtualizer to provide exactly this capability at Enzee in 2010. As Netezza has continued to announce new specialized appliances that can optimally partition data on geographic, time-based, and other dimensions, this capability has become even more important in 2011.

Create Virtual Data Warehouses
With the general proliferation of fit-for-purpose data warehouse appliances, the concept of creating a virtual data warehouse that virtually encompasses these instances into a common data management environment was deemed important by the users. Whether Netezza-to-Netezza virtualization or Netezza with other popular databases such as Oracle or Sybase IQ, this approach was considered a simpler way to go than migrating all the data from these optimized analytical data stores to a larger, more-general purpose enterprise data warehouse.

Migrate From Older Data Warehouses to Netezza
However, data virtualization was considered a key solution when migrating from an "older" database to Netezza. Avoiding disruption is a critical issue for data warehouse migration. Because there is always a period of co-existence when migration, data virtualization provides a reporting insulation layer above the old and new data warehouses that enables complete end user transparency during the migration.

Key Takeaways
Analytics and big data have significant value, but change the IT landscape. Data virtualization provides IT with practical solutions to address these changes. Netezza users are seizing this opportunity. You can too.

More Stories By Robert Eve

Robert Eve is the EVP of Marketing at Composite Software, the data virtualization gold standard and co-author of Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility. Bob's experience includes executive level roles at leading enterprise software companies such as Mercury Interactive, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. Bob holds a Masters of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.