Data Warehousing, Mainstream Technologies, and Vendors

While data warehousing and traditional computing technologies converge, you’re looking at a whole new ball game when you try to sift through vendors’ claims and promises. Traditional data warehousing vendors are already trying to make their products’ respective capabilities go enterprise (be able to work in large, enterprise-wide global settings), and others vendors see the lucrative data warehousing market as an area into which they can expand.

Beware! More than a few 1980s-era marketing messages from the distributed database world make a comeback:

  • “This product provides transparent access to any data in any database anywhere.”

  • “Put one subject area into this data mart and another subject into a second data mart, and — presto! — you can join them whenever you need to and treat the two data marts as one logical data warehouse.”

Although you might not scoff automatically at everything you hear about new and improved product capabilities, much of what’s showing up to address shortcomings in first-generation data warehousing has a feel of “been there, done that.” This doesn't mean that they don’t work; it’s just that many of the capabilities from “best of breed” products are now appearing in the “mainstream” products.

The proof is in the pudding. Dealing with vendor promises and claims (and the consequences of product characteristics that you wish you knew about before you bought those products) will become even more of a burden when the extract-and-copy-and-copy-again first-generation data warehousing morphs into a more advanced data warehousing solution including features such as near-real-time updates to the data warehouse, the access of data at its point of origin (rather than from the database into which you copy it), and the inclusion of multimedia in your data warehouse.

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