Data lakes have enormous potential as a source of business intelligence. However, many early adopters of data lakes have found that simply storing large amounts of data in a data lake environment is not enough to generate business intelligence from that data. Similarly, lakes and reservoirs have enormous potential as sources of energy. However, simply storing large amounts of water in a lake is not enough to generate energy from that water. A hydroelectric power station is required to harness and unleash the power-generating potential of a lake or reservoir, utilizing a combination of turbines, generators and transformers to convert the energy of the flowing water into electricity. A hydroanalytic data platform, the data equivalent of a hydroelectric power station, is required to harness and unleash the intelligence-generating potential of a data lake.
As I noted when joining Ventana Research, the range of options faced by organizations in relation to data processing and analytics can be bewildering. When it comes to data platforms, however, there is one fundamental consideration that comes before all others: Is the workload primarily operational or analytic? Although most database products can be used for operational or analytic workloads, the market has been segmented between products targeting operational workloads, and those targeting analytic workloads for almost as long as there has been a database market.
Enterprises looking to adopt cloud-based data processing and analytics face a disorienting array of data storage, data processing, data management and analytics offerings. Departmental autonomy, shadow IT, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic choices mean that most enterprises now have the need to manage data across multiple locations, while each of the major cloud providers and data and analytics vendors has a portfolio of offerings that may or may not be available in any given location. As such, the ability to manage and process data across multiple clouds and data centers is a growing concern for large and small enterprises alike. Almost one-half (49%) of respondents to Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research study are using cloud computing for analytics and data, of which 42% are currently using more than one cloud provider.