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TDWI Blog: Data 360

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Reasons for Developing High-Performance Data Warehousing (HiPer DW)

By Philip Russom, TDWI Research Director

[NOTE -- My new TDWI report about High-Performance Data Warehousing (HiPer DW) is finished and will be published in October. The report’s Webinar will broadcast on October 9, 2012. In the meantime, I’ll leak a few of the report’s findings in this blog series. Search Twitter for #HiPerDW to find other leaks. Enjoy!]

No one denies that HiPer DW is important. (See Figure 9. [shown above]) Two thirds of survey respondents called it extremely important (66%), while a quarter called it moderately important (28%). A mere 6% said that HiPer DW is not currently a pressing issue.

The wide majority of users surveyed are doing something about it. (See Figure 10. [shown above]) Luckily, most organizations can achieve their performance goals with a moderate amount of tweaking (61%). Even so, others have made major changes for the sake of performance (27%). Given that a third of user organizations are contemplating a change of platform to gain higher performance (as seen in Figure 7 [not shown in this blog]), more major changes are coming.

Whether major changes or moderate tweaking, there is a fair amount of work being done for the performance optimization of BI/DW/DI and analytic systems. To find out why, the survey asked: “Why do you need to invest time and money into performance enhancements?” (See Figure 11. [not shown in this blog])

Business needs optimal performance from systems for BI/DW/DI and analytics. This is clear from survey responses, such as: business practices demand faster and bigger BI and analytics (68%) and business strategy seeks maximum value from each system (19%). On the dark side of the issue, it’s sometimes true that [business] users’ expectations of performance are unrealistic (9%). In a similar vein, one response to “Other” said that “regulatory requirements demand timely reporting.”

Keeping pace with growth is a common reason for performance optimization. Considerable percentages of the experienced users responding to this survey question selected growth-related answers, such as scaling up to large data volumes (46%), scaling to greater analytic complexity (32%), and scaling to larger user communities with more reports (25%).

One way to keep pace with growth is to upgrade hardware. This is seen in the following responses: We keep adding more data without upgrading hardware (14%), and we keep adding users and applications without upgrading hardware (8%). Another way to put it is that adding more and heftier hardware is a tried-and-true method of optimization, though – when taken to extremes – it raises costs and dulls optimization skills.

Performance optimization occasionally compensates for tool deficiencies. Luckily, this is not too common. Very few respondents reported tool-related optimizations, such as: our BI and analytic tools are not high performance (15%), our database software is not high performance (6%), our BI and analytic tools do not take advantage of database software (4%), and our database software does not have features we need (3%). In other words, tools and platforms for BI/DW/DI and analytics perform adequately for the experienced users surveyed here. Their work in performance optimization most often targets new businesKeeping pace with growth is a common reason for performance optimization.s requirements and growing volumes of data, reports, and users – not tool and platform deficiencies.

EXPERT COMMENT -- Query optimizers do a lot of the work for us.
A database expert interviewed for this report said: “The query optimizer built into a vendor’s database management system can be a real life saver. But there’s also a lot of room for improvement. Most optimizers work best with well-written queries of modest size with predictable syntax. And that’s okay, because most queries fit that description today. However, as a wider range of people get into query-based analytics, query optimizers need to also improve poorly written queries. These can span hundreds of lines of complex SQL, with convoluted predicate structures, due to ad hoc methods, calling out to non-SQL procedures, or by mixing SQL from multiple hand-coded and tool-generated sources.”

Want more? Register for my HiPer DW Webinar, coming up Oct.9 noon ET.

Read other blogs in this series:
Opportunities for HiPer DW
The Four Dimensions of HiPer DW
Defining HiPer DW
High Performance: The Secret of Success and Survival

Posted by Philip Russom, Ph.D. on September 28, 2012


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