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The Top 3 Reasons Your Legacy Data Warehouse Is Not Keeping Up With Your Business

cloud data warehouse

As data is becoming a more prominent focus for all businesses, many are finding themselves at a crossroads with their old-school on-premises data warehouses. You know, the ones with familiar names like Oracle, Teradata, and Microsoft SQL Server – the workhorses of data storage and analysis back in the day.

But as the flow of information has exploded, these trusty systems are facing some serious challenges in keeping up with the dynamic needs of modern companies.

In this article, we'll dive into the top three reasons why your aging data warehouse might be struggling to keep pace with your organisation's evolving demands. Each of these reasons sheds light on a different aspect of the hurdles traditional data warehouses are up against.

Data Volumes and Performance

In the world of data management, one of the most profound transformations over the past few decades has been the sheer volume of data that organisations handle today. It's a far cry from the relatively modest datasets of the 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, data has grown to such an extent that many legacy systems are now operating at a precarious 95% to 100% of their capacity.

This capacity crunch presents a significant challenge for businesses trying to maintain the efficiency and performance of their data warehouses. When these systems were initially designed, they were tailored to handle the data loads of their time. But as data generation exploded, these older data warehouses started to struggle under the weight of modern data demands.

Enter the modern cloud data warehouse architecture, a game-changer in the realm of data management. One of its key innovations is the separation of compute and storage, a departure from the integrated approach of traditional systems. This architectural shift offers a lifeline to businesses grappling with data volume issues.

By decoupling compute and storage, organisations can scale their data storage independently from their processing power. This means they no longer need to allocate massive resources for both aspects simultaneously. Instead, they can adapt their infrastructure to meet their specific needs, optimising performance and cost-efficiency. This separation not only addresses the data volume challenge but also lays the foundation for more flexible and scalable data solutions.

Snowflake data warehouse

Maintenance and Administration

Maintaining optimal performance of a legacy data warehouse can be a monumental task. When these systems are grappling with performance issues, the roles of system administrators become crucial. System administrators wear multiple hats, juggling tasks such as capacity planning, performance tuning, security management, and routine maintenance. They are the unsung heroes who keep the data flowing smoothly, but it's not an easy job.

Capacity planning involves predicting future data needs and ensuring that the infrastructure can handle the ever-increasing volume of information. This can be like trying to predict the weather; a slight miscalculation can lead to severe disruptions.

Performance tuning is an ongoing battle. Legacy data warehouses often require fine-tuning at the hardware and software levels to keep queries running efficiently. System administrators must dig into the nitty-gritty details of query optimisation and indexing to squeeze out every bit of performance.

Security management is paramount, especially in today's data-driven landscape with ever-looming cybersecurity threats. Administrators are responsible for safeguarding sensitive data, which includes setting up access controls, encryption and constant monitoring for potential breaches.

Routine maintenance is a never-ending cycle. Legacy systems demand regular updates, patches and backups. Any downtime during maintenance can disrupt operations and lead to loss of revenue.

Now, let's shift our focus to modern cloud data warehouses (CDW). With a CDW, many of these arduous tasks associated with system administration are alleviated. The platform takes care of much of the heavy lifting.

The CDW’s fully managed nature means that platform maintenance is provided for you. It abstracts away the complexities of hardware management, software updates and security. This allows businesses to refocus their valuable IT resources on more strategic initiatives rather than routine system administration tasks.

By offloading these responsibilities to the CDW, organisations can experience smoother operations, improved performance, and enhanced security without the overhead of managing everything in-house. It's a pivotal shift that empowers businesses to be more agile and data-focused.

Operational Costs

For any business, cost considerations are a fundamental part of the equation, and this aspect becomes especially pronounced when we examine legacy data warehouses versus modern cloud data warehouses.

Legacy data warehouses often require businesses to invest in fixed infrastructure. This infrastructure must be sized to accommodate the worst-case scenarios and peak usage. It's akin to buying a car that's built for high-speed racing but primarily used for the daily commute. The result? A lot of unused capacity and wasted resources.

However, the paradigm shifts when we venture into the realm of modern cloud data warehouses. These platforms leverage the elasticity and scalability of the cloud to offer a more cost-efficient model.

In particular, storage in the cloud is exceptionally cost-effective. Organisations can store vast amounts of data without incurring exorbitant costs. This means they can keep historical data readily available for analysis without the need for costly archival solutions.

Moreover, the compute resources in modern CDWs are billed based on actual usage, down to the second. This 'pay-as-you-go' model is a game-changer. Instead of investing in fixed compute capacity that often goes underutilised, businesses can now scale their processing power precisely to their needs. This not only optimises costs but also enhances efficiency.

This cost-efficient approach aligns perfectly with the drive for smarter spending and resource allocation. It empowers organisations to allocate their financial resources where they matter most, rather than sinking capital into maintaining and upgrading hardware that might be over-provisioned.

The Future

In the evolving landscape of data management, adaptability is the name of the game. As we've explored the top three challenges faced by legacy data warehouses – data volume, system maintenance, and operational costs – we've uncovered the hurdles that can slow down your data journey.

The decoupled architecture of modern CDWs, with independent storage and compute are allowing businesses to easily manage their exponential data growth. System administrators, who once grappled with intricate maintenance duties, can now breathe easier. With fully managed solutions, allowing IT teams to shift their focus toward strategic initiatives rather than routine maintenance.

For more information head to our Snowflake Services page or get in touch with us via email at or calling 1300 475 510.

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