The Advantages and Pitfalls of Data Warehousing in the Cloud

As the technology behind data storage evolves at a rapid pace, more companies are looking to take advantage of the cloud. However, moving big data to the cloud is not without its share of problems.

Greg Rahn, director of product management at Snowflake Computing, and Eugene Kogan, director of IT and knowledge management at Rainforest Alliance, explored the variety of possibilities and pitfalls of moving data storage to the cloud during a session titled, “Moving to the Cloud: Challenges and Opportunities” at Data Summit 2015.

“Cloud adoption has certainly grown and is one of the most interesting topics, I think, in the computing arena,” Rahn said. “It’s definitely one that seems to be changing.”

Enterprises look to cloud for data warehousing because it is increasing the sharing of data and the complexity of on premises, while decreasing costs, Rahn explained. In addition, Kogan noted cloud gives users easy access to swaths of information.

However, all the benefits don’t come for free, Rahn said, as there are some challenges in moving to the cloud.

Cloud Hurdles

Companies can encounter technical and human error issues, along with data breaches, Kogan said. Enterprises are worried about security and updating their infrastructure and software when moving to cloud.

“Most people are more concerned about data security in the cloud,” Rahn said. “If you’ve been the victim of a data breach…there have been more data center data breaches, than a cloud data center data breach.” It’s not difficult to have a secure environment in the cloud, Rahn explained, as most cloud providers know they need to keep things safe or else people would not use their services.

Best Practices

“There are a lot of best practices that include things like encryption, strong authentications, process and procedures, etc,” Rahn noted. “It’s not that you have just a log in and password, you actually have specific and granular credentials that you can control access down to different objects and services.” Additionally companies shouldn’t worry about their infrastructure as the software stays up to date quickly, with online upgrades that don’t take any down time, Rahn said.

There are a few key techniques for enterprises to utilize when moving to cloud, including a onetime migration, along with a variety of ways to copy data then upload it to the cloud. The cloud can be rapidly deployed by enterprises, Kogan said.

Cloud Opportunities

 Moving to cloud can create a multitude of opportunities such as simplifying and integrating data in a storage system effortlessly. Along with this data integration, great performance can almost become free, and cloud allows faster time to insight, according to Rahn.

“You basically get instantaneous deployment, you can push a button, get resources and use that immediately,” Rhan said. “[Cloud] also offers the ability to simplify your data pipelines.”

Kogan noted the road ahead for cloud includes technologies such as Hadoop, Cognos, Power BI-0356, AWS for different services, and predictive analytics tools.

“There are a lot of challenges but at the same time [cloud] gives you a lot of opportunities,” Kogan said.

To access Data Summit 2015 presentations, go here