The “cloud” once meant servers and hard drives at someone else’s data center. But more and more cloud-based services are being designed to match the applications enterprises have long done in house—and data warehousing is among the latest to join that list.
Companies have been able to run data analytics applications in the cloud for some time, either by leasing dedicated space or using a utility-style rental model on shared equipment. Now, Internet companies and startups are building data warehousing offerings designed from the ground up to run on the cloud.
These services will challenge in-house data warehousing providers because cloud computing, in general, offers some real benefits, notably lower upfront costs and a faster time to deploy applications. For regulatory and security reasons, running a data warehouse outside a company’s walls doesn’t make sense for everyone but it can be compelling for certain uses and cloud-native companies.
For a sense of the potential disruption of data warehousing as a service, consider Redshift, a service introduced by Amazon Web Services late last year and now in private beta. Customers are already doing analytics on existing Amazon Web services, such as its Elastic MapReduce. Redshift, by contrast, runs on ParAccel’s columnar database so it’s specifically designed for analysis of structured data. People can access it through MicroStrategy or Jaspersoft front-end business intelligence tools.