Welcome!

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

A Cloud Computing Business Intelligence Organization

Moving data warehouses to the cloud

Data Warehousing As A Cloud Candidate
Over the past  year, we have started seeing greater support for Cloud from major vendors and Cloud is here to stay. The   bigger impact is that,  the path is clearly drawn for the enterprises to adopt Cloud.  With this in mind,  it is time to identify the potential for existing  data center applications  to be migrated to Cloud.

Most of the major IT majors predict a  HYBRID Delivery will be future,  where by the future enterprises needs to look  for a delivery model that comprises of certain work loads  on  Clouds  and some of them continue to be on data centers and then look for a model that will integrate  them together.

Before  we go further into  a  blue print of  How Data warehouses  fit  within a HYBRID Cloud environment, we  will see the salient features of  Data warehouses  and how the Cloud tenants  make them a  very viable work load to be  moved to Cloud.

A data warehouse  is a subject oriented, integrated, time variant and non volatile collection  of data in support of management's decision making process.

Data Warehousing  Usage

Cloud Tenant Value Proposition

ETL   (Extract, Cleaning, Transform, Load) process is  subject to variable patterns. Normally we may get large files over the week end or in night time to be processed and loaded.

It is better to  use the COMPUTE  resources on demand for the ETL as they require , rather than having a fixed capacity

OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and related  processing needs for  MOLAP (Multi dimensional OLAP) and / or ROLAP (Relational OLAP) are highly compute intensive and requires stronger processing needs

High Performance Computing and ability to scale up on demand,   tenants of Cloud will be highly aligned to this need

Physical architecture needs are complex in a data warehousing environment.

  • MPP Servers (Massively Parallel Processing)
  • Shared Nothing Data Architecture
  • Mirrored Copies of Disk Space
  • High Availability Clustering

Most of the IaaS , PaaS offerings  like Azure platform, Amazon EC2 have built in  provisions for a highly available architecture, with most of the day to day administration  is  abstracted from the  enterprises.

The below are some of the advantages of SQL Azure Platform

  • No physical administration required - software installation and patching is included, as this is a platform as a service (PAAS)
  • High availability and fault tolerance are built in

Multiple Software and platform  needs,

  • Database Design Tools (STAR Schema Modeling)
  • ETL Tools
  • Data Cleansing Tools
  • OLAP Tools
  • Spatial Tools
  • Data Mining Tools
  • BI Reporting Tools

The product stack of  data warehousing  environment  is really huge and most organizations will normally find  it difficult to get into  a ideal list of software and platforms and tools  for their BI  platform. platform. SaaS for  applications like  data cleansing or address validation and PaaS for reporting like Microsoft SQL Azure reporting will be ideal to solve the tools and platform maze.

 

The following are the ideal steps for migrating  a  in-premise  data warehouse  system to a cloud platform, for the sake of case study , Microsoft  Windows Azure platform is chosen  as the target platform.

1. Create Initial Database / Allocate Storage / Migrate Data
The existing STAR Schema design  of the existing  data warehousing system can be migrated to  Cloud platform as it is.  And  migrating  to a  Relational database  platform like  SQL Azure should be straightforward. To migrate the data,   the initial  storage allocations of the existing  database on  the data center needs to be calculated and the same amount  Storage resources will be allocated on the Cloud.

You can store any amount of data, from kilobytes to terabytes, in SQL Azure. However, individual databases are limited to 10 GB in size. To create solutions that store more than 10 GB of data, you must partition large data sets across multiple databases and use parallel queries to access the data.

Once a high scalable database infrastructure is setup on SQL Azure platform , the following are some of the methods in which the data from the existing on-premise  data warehouses can be  moved to SQL Azure.

Traditional BCP Tool : BCP  is a command line utility that ships with Microsoft SQL Server. It bulk copies data between SQL Azure (or SQL Server) and a data file in a user-specified format. The bcp utility that ships with SQL Server 2008 R2 is fully supported by SQL Azure. You can use BCP to backup and restore your data on SQL Azure You can import large numbers of new rows into SQL Azure tables or export data out of tables into data files by using the bcp utility.

The following tools  are also useful, if you existing  Data warehouse is in  Sql Server within the data center.

You can transfer data to SQL Azure by using SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (SSIS). SQL Server 2008 R2 or later supports the Import and Export Data Wizard and bulk copy for the transfer of data between an instance of Microsoft SQL Server and SQL Azure.

SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA for Access v4.2) supports migrating your schema and data from Microsoft Access to SQL Azure.

2. Set Up ETL & Integration With Existing  On Premise Data Sources
After the initial load of the  data warehouse on Cloud,  it required to be continuously refreshed   with the operational data.  This process  needs to extract  data from different data sources (such as flat files, legacy databases, RDBMS, ERP, CRM and SCM application packages).

This process will also carry out necessary transformations such as joining of tables, sorting, applying  various filters.

The following are typical  options available in Sql Azure platform  to  build a  ETL platform between the On Premise and data warehouse hosted on cloud.  The tools mentioned above on the initial load of the data also holds good  for ETL tool, however they are not repeated  to avoid duplication.

SQL Azure Data Sync :

  • Cloud to cloud synchronization
  • Enterprise (on-premise) to cloud
  • Cloud to on-premise.
  • Bi-directional or sync-to-hub or sync-from-hub synchronization

The following diagram courtesy  of  Vendor will give a over view of how the SQL Azure Data Sync can be used for ETL purposes.

Integration provides common  Biztalk  Server integration capabilities (e.g. pipeline, transforms, adapters) on Windows Azure, using out-of-box integration patterns to accelerate and simplify development. It also delivers higher level business user enablement capabilities such as Business Activity Monitoring and Rules, as well as self-service trading partner community portal and provisioning of business-to-business pipelines.  The following diagram courtesy of the vendor shows how the  Windows Azure Appfabric Integration can be used as a ETL platform.

3. Create CUBES & Other Analytics  Structures
The multi dimensional nature of  OLAP requires a analytical engine to process the underlying data and create a multi dimensional view and  the success of OLAP has resulted in a large  number of vendors  offering OLAP servers using different architectures.

MLOAP :  A Proprietary multidimensional database with a aim on performance.

ROLAP :   Relational OLAP is a technology that provides sophisticated multidimensional analysis that is performed on open relational databases.  ROLAP can scale to  large data sets in the terabyte range.

HOLAP : Hybrid OLAP is an attempt to combine some of the features of MOLAP and ROLAP technology.

SQL Azure Database does not support all of the features and data types found in SQL Server. Analysis Services, Replication, and Service Broker are not currently provided as services on the Windows Azure platform.

At this time  there is no direct support for OLAP and CUBE processing on SQL Azure,  however with the HPC (High Performance Computing ) attributes  using multiple Worker roles,  manually  aggregation of the data can be achieved.

4. Generate Reports
Reporting consists of  analyzing the data  stored in the data warehouse in multiple dimensions and  generate standard reports for business intelligence and also generate ad-hoc reports.  These reports present data in graphical/tabular form and also provide statistical analysis features.  These reports should be rendered as Excel, PDF and other formats.

It is better to utilize the SaaS based or PaaS based reporting infrastructure rather than custom coding all the reports.

SQL Azure Reporting enables developers to enhance their applications by embedding cloud based reports on information stored in a SQL Azure database.  Developers can author reports using familiar SQL Server Reporting Services tools and then use these reports in their applications which may be on-premises or in the cloud.

SQL Azure Reporting  also currently can connect only to SQL Azure databases.

Summary
The above steps will provide a path to migrate   on premise  Data warehousing  applications to Cloud. As we needed lot of support from the  vendor in terms of IaaS, PaaS  and SaaS,   Microsoft Azure Platform is chosen as a platform to support the case study.  With several features  integrated as part of  this, Microsoft  Cloud Platform  positioned to be  one of the leading platform for BI on Cloud.

The following diagram  indicates a blue print of a  typical Cloud BI Organization on a Microsoft Azure Platform.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

Latest Stories
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We are an all-flash array storage provider but our focus has been on VM-aware storage specifically for virtualized applications," stated Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Between 2005 and 2020, data volumes will grow by a factor of 300 – enough data to stack CDs from the earth to the moon 162 times. This has come to be known as the ‘big data’ phenomenon. Unfortunately, traditional approaches to handling, storing and analyzing data aren’t adequate at this scale: they’re too costly, slow and physically cumbersome to keep up. Fortunately, in response a new breed of technology has emerged that is cheaper, faster and more scalable. Yet, in meeting these new needs they...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...