A data warehouse is a digital repository that aggregates structured data. As the name implies, a data warehouse organizes structured data sources (like SQL databases or Excel files). It is not a cluttered storage space where data is stacked and piled. Anyone who has looked for their golf clubs in a messy garage, only to find them hidden behind the holiday decorations, can appreciate the value of an organized data warehouse. 

A data warehouse unifying data from various sources

Unify and store disparate data in your data warehouse

Data warehousing takes any structured data set and provides an infrastructure that allows you to pull real business intelligence from various data sources.

Data warehouses save time by unifying data from multiple sources. Easier-to-find data is easier to use. When you have data sets from multiple sources stored in a central location, it gives you a foundation for faster, more accurate data analysis.

With a consolidated view of your critical data, you can make informed decisions on key initiatives.

A database doesn’t make a data warehouse redundant

Different tools are best for different jobs. A complex query in an operational database will put that database into a fixed state. If you use a transactional database, you can’t have that slowdown. Data warehousing allows you to analyze a large amount of data without impacting processing time. This provides you with up to date business analytics and insights.

The data quality advantage

A data warehouse requires top-notch data management and data mining to help convert raw data into usable insights. Data analytics work best when they’re based on high-quality data.

Machine learning (ML) and other AI techniques can enforce data quality rules that map, transform and clean your data to delete duplicate entries, old information and data errors. These processes ensure all types of data in your data warehouse are clean and organized to give you the best foundation upon which to do business analytics and glean clear insights.

Traditional data warehouses versus cloud data warehouses

The difference between traditional data warehouses and cloud-based data warehouse architecture is proximity and flexibility.

A traditional data warehouse is on-premises. This can be essential for certain regulatory requirements, but often, there is a connection to mission-critical work.

For instance, let’s say your chief revenue officer needs to make an immediate query on your data warehouse. She needs to do this regularly to make decisions that will impact the next few weeks. In this case, housing enterprise data on-premises delivers continuity. With all the training and learning invested in on-premises data warehouses, you don’t want to lose the ability to view data that has real business implications during a cloud migration.

The cloud offers many benefits, as do the data warehouses that live there. They are less expensive, faster and more scalable. Cloud-based data warehouses allow easier access for many users and offer better data governance and protection. They also process all forms of data (structured, semi-structured and unstructured data) with greater efficiency.

The best of both worlds

The good news is you don’t have to choose between traditional and cloud data warehouses. You can use data integration with both. This allows you to perform data mining on disparate sources of data without moving your data from one warehouse to another.

A combo of extract, load, transform (ELT) and extract, transform, load (ETL) processes can work together to move raw data from its source to your data warehouse or subsets like data marts, whether they’re in the cloud or on-premises.

Data warehouses versus data lakes

Both data warehouses and data lakes are aggregation systems. The difference is data warehouses store structured data, whereas data lakes combine unstructured data from sources like streaming platforms and social media.

Due to the growing need to process large amounts of data from unstructured sources, data lakes are growing in popularity. Businesses rely on several data sources and need to data mine both structured and unstructured information. Data warehouses can’t handle different data formats and workloads. They are an aggregation system but are not flexible or scalable for unpredictable workloads.

While the value of handling unstructured data is high, data warehouses are steadfast. They’re consistent, predictable and high performing for structured data. This means data warehouses give you a level of fidelity and confidence. But, due to scalability, many enterprises are moving on-premises data warehouses to the cloud as a more cost-effective solution.

Whether your cloud data warehouse or lake is on Snowflake, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS), Informatica can help you derive value from your data.

Explore Informatica’s Intelligent Data Management Cloud to learn more.

The benefits of a data warehouse

  • Work with quality data
  • Data warehouses provide infrastructure needed to facilitate high-quality business intelligence. Data visualization is a powerful tool for identifying trends and building business strategies. However, it’s only as useful as the quality of your data. In a data warehouse, you can easily remove redundant and dated information to make sure you get the decision support you need.

  • Save time with better analytics
  • Data warehouses help save time when it comes to data storage. They ensure all different sources of data are organized, cleansed and stored. They also make batch analytical processing possible daily. Beyond that, using a data warehouse is key to good database management. It allows you to tap into essential data analytics without slowing down data flows to your operational systems. While cloud data warehouses offer big efficiency boosts, you may want an on-premises data warehouse to address regulatory requirements, data privacy or latency issues.

  • Reduce costs for quicker insights
  • Clean data in a data warehouse means faster insights to inform better decisions. Plus, if you run your data warehouse in the cloud, the ability to scale at a lower cost can pay off — more efficiency in the cloud equates to big savings.

  • Improve long-term decision-making
  • With more information than ever at your fingertips, there are fewer excuses for missed opportunities. Don’t let a lack of insight become a roadblock. With both new and historical data to process, your data warehouse system can help you deliver more hits and fewer misses.

Informatica’s data warehouse solutions

From data quality to data cataloging and data governance, Informatica has the most comprehensive data management solutions, no matter which data warehouse you use. Whether you want to move to the cloud or need a hybrid solution, Informatica can bring better data analytics to the following:

While the data across industries may vary, the solutions — along with Informatica’s best practices — ensure security alongside powerful data warehouse management.

Data warehousing customer success stories

Discover how Informatica’s data management and integration solutions led to big gains for these companies.

These customers aren’t alone. You can get more out of your data warehouse too. Explore Informatica’s Intelligent Data Management Cloud and see how Informatica can help.

  • Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT)
  • To gauge economic impact, Abu Dhabi’s DCT needed to measure the quantity and activity of visitors — while also moving their data warehouse to the cloud. With data from hotels, museums and tourist sites, they needed an automated system to organize the information and make it easier to use. With Informatica’s Data Quality and Cloud Data Integration solutions, the Abu Dhabi DCT moved to the cloud, and cleansed their data to enable more accurate tourism insights; all while saving more than 2,000 working hours annually.

  • Feeding America
  • Solving the issue of hunger is no small feat, and to do it, Feeding America needed a better system to process food and financial donations. They needed a cloud-based solution to help maximize every donation. With Informatica’s Cloud Data Integration solution, Feeding America compiled data from over a dozen internal systems — adding in live data — to make sure the right donations in the right quantities make it to the right locations. This secure system led to a 20x increase in financial donations, too.

These customers aren’t alone. You can get more out of your data warehouse too. Explore Informatica’s Intelligent Data Management Cloud and see how Informatica can help.