2 items tagged "on-premise"

  • Dealing with the challenges of data migration

    Dealing with the challenges of data migration

    Once you have decided to migrate your data warehouse to a cloud-based database, the hard and risky work of data migration begins.

    Organizations of all sizes and maturities already have data warehouses deployed and in operation. Modernizing, upgrading, or otherwise improving an incumbent warehouse regularly involves migrating data from platform to platform, and migrations today increasingly move data from on-premises to cloud systems. This is because replatforming is a common data warehouse modernization strategy, whether you will rip-and-replace the warehouse's primary platform or augment it with additional data platforms.

    Even when using an augmentation strategy for data warehouse modernization, 'data balancing' is an inevitable migration task as you redistribute data across the new combination of old and new platforms.

    In a related direction, some data warehouse modernization strategies simplify bloated and redundant portfolios of databases (or take control of rogue data marts and analytics sandboxes) by consolidating them onto fewer platforms, with cloud-based databases increasingly serving as a consolidation platform.

    In all these modernization strategies, the cloud plays an important role. For example, many organizations have a cloud-first mandate because they know that cloud computing is the future of data center infrastructure. In addition, the cloud is a common target for data warehouse modernization because cloud-based data platforms are the most modern ones available for warehouses today.

    Finally, a cloud is an easily centralized and globally available platform, which makes it an ideal target for data consolidation, as well as popular use cases such as analytics, self-service data practices, and data sharing across organizational boundaries.

    Users who modernize a data warehouse need to plan carefully for the complexity, time, business disruption, risks, and costs of migrating and/or consolidating data onto cloud-based platforms suitable for data warehousing, as follows.

    Avoid a big bang project

    That kind of plan attempts to modernize and migrate too much too fast. The large size and complexity of deliverables raises the probability of failure. By comparison, a project plan with multiple phases will be a less risky way to achieve your goals for modernization and cloud migration. A multiphase project plan segments work into multiple manageable pieces, each with a realistic technical goal that adds discernable business value.

    The first deliverable should be easy but useful 

    For example, successful data migration or replatforming projects should focus the first phase on a data subset or use case that is both easy to construct and in high demand by the business. Prioritize early phases so they give everyone confidence by demonstrating technical prowess and business value. Save problematic phases for later.

    Cloud migration is not just for data 

    You are also migrating (or simply redirecting the access of) business processes, groups of warehouse end users, reports, applications, analysts, developers, and data management solutions. Your plan should explain when and how each entity will be migrated or redirected to cloud. Managers and users should be involved in planning to ensure their needs are addressed with minimal disruption to business operations.

    Manage risk with contingency plans

    Expect to fail, but know that segmenting work into phases has the added benefit of limiting the scope of failure. Be ready to recover from failed phases via roll back to a prior phase state. Don't be too eager to unplug the old platforms because you may need them for roll back. It is inevitable that old and new data warehouse platforms (both on premises and on clouds) will operate simultaneously for months or years depending on the size and complexity of the data, user groups, and business processes you are migrating.

    Beware lift-and-shift projects

    Sometimes you can 'lift and shift' data from one system to another with minimal work, but usually you cannot. Even when lift and shift works, developers need to tweak data models and interfaces for maximum performance on the new platform. A replatforming project can easily turn into a development project when data being migrated or consolidated requires considerable work.

    In particular, organizations facing migrations of older applications and data to cloud platforms should assume that lift and shift will be inadequate because old and new platforms (especially when strewn across on-premises and cloud systems) will differ in terms of interfaces, tool or platform functionality, and performance characteristics. When the new platform offers little or no backward compatibility with the old one, development may be needed for platform-specific components, such as stored procedures, user-defined functions, and hand-coded routines.

    Improve data, don't just move it

    Problems with data quality, data modeling, and metadata should be remediated before or during migration. Otherwise you're just bringing your old problems into the new platform. In all data management work, when you move data you should also endeavor to improve data.

    Assemble a diverse team for modernizing and replatforming a data warehouse 

    Obviously, data management professionals are required. Data warehouse modernization and replatforming usually need specialists in warehousing, integration, analytics, and reporting. When tweaks and new development are required, experts in data modeling, architecture, and data languages may be needed. Don't overlook the maintenance work required of database administrators (DBAs), systems analysts, and IT staff. Before migrating to a cloud-based data warehouse platform, consider hiring consultants or new employees who have cloud experience, not just data management experience. Finally, do not overlook the need for training employees on the new cloud platform.

    Data migrations affect many types of people 

    Your plan should accommodate them all. A mature data warehouse will serve a long list of end users who consume reports, dashboards, metrics, analyses, and other products of data warehousing and business intelligence. These people report to a line-of-business manager and other middle managers. Affected parties (i.e., managers and sometimes end users, too) should be involved in planning a data warehouse modernization and migration to cloud. First, their input should affect the whole project from the beginning so they get what they need to be successful with the new cloud data warehouse. Second, the new platform roll-out should take into consideration the productivity and process needs of all affected parties.

    Coordinate with external parties when appropriate

    In some scenarios, such as those for supply chain, e-commerce, and business-to-business relationships, the plan for migration to cloud should also stipulate dates and actions for partners, suppliers, clients, customers, and other external entities. Light technical work may be required of external parties, as when customers or suppliers have online access to reports or analytics supported by a cloud data warehouse platform.

    Author: Philip Russom

    Source: TDWI

  • On-premise or cloud-based? A guide to appropriate data governance

    On-premise or cloud-based? A guide to appropriate data governance

    Data governance involves developing strategies and practices to ensure high-quality data throughout its lifecycle.

    However, besides deciding how to manage data governance, you must choose whether to apply the respective principles in an on-premise setting or the cloud.

    Here are four pointers to help:

    1. Choose on-premise when third-party misconduct is a prevalent concern

    One of the goals of data governance is to determine the best ways to keep data safe. That's why data safety comes into the picture when people choose cloud-based or on-premise solutions. If your company holds sensitive data like health information and you're worried about a third-party not abiding by your data governance policies, an on-premise solution could be right for you.

    Third-party cloud providers must abide by regulations for storing health data, but they still make mistakes. Some companies offer tools that let you determine a cloud company's level of risk and see the safeguards it has in place to prevent data breaches. You may consider using one of those to assess whether third-party misconduct is a valid concern as you strive to maintain data governance best practices.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the shortcomings of third-party companies could cause long-term damage for your company's reputation. For example, in a case where a cloud provider has a misconfigured server that allows a data breach to happen, they're to blame. But, the headlines about the incident will likely primarily feature your brand and may only mention the outside company in a passing sentence.

    If you opt for on-premise data governance, your company alone is in the spotlight if something goes wrong, but it's also possible to exert more control over all facets of data governance to promote consistency. When you need scalability, cloud-based technology typically allows you to ramp up faster, but you shouldn't do that at the expense of a possible third-party blunder.

    2. Select cloud-based data governance if you lack data governance maturity

    Implementing a data governance program is a time-consuming but worthwhile process. A data governance maturity assessment model can be useful for seeing how your company's approach to data governance stacks up to industry-wide best practices. It can also identify gaps to illuminate what has to happen for ongoing progress to occur.

    Using a data governance maturity assessment model can also signal to stakeholders that data governance is a priority within your organization. However, if your assessments show the company has a long way to go before it can adhere to best practices, cloud-based data governance could be the right choice.

    That's because the leading cloud providers have their own in-house data governance strategies in place. They shouldn't replace the ones used in-house at your company, but they could help you fill in the known gaps while improving company-wide data governance.

    3. Go with on-premise if you want ownership

    One of the things that companies often don't like about using a cloud provider for data governance is that they don't have ownership of the software. Instead, they usually enter into a leasing agreement, similarly to leasing an automobile. So, if you want complete control over the software used to manage your data, on-premise is the only possibility which allows that ownership.

    One thing to keep in mind about on-premise data governance is that you are responsible for data security. As such, you must have protocols in place to keep your software updated against the latest security threats.

    Cloud providers usually update their software more frequently than you might in an on-premise scenario. That means you have to be especially proactive about dealing with known security flaws in outdated software. Indeed, on-premise data governance has the benefit of ownership, but your organization has to be ready to accept all the responsibility that option brings.

    4. Know that specialized data governance tools are advantageous in both cases

    You've already learned a few of the pros and cons of on-premise versus cloud-based solutions to meet your data governance requirements. Don't forget that no matter which of those you choose, specialty software can help you get a handle on data access, storage, usage and more. For example, software exists to help companies manage their data lakes whether they are on the premises or in the cloud.

    Those tools can sync with third-party sources of data to allow monitoring of all the data from a single interface. Moreover, they can track metadata changes, allowing users to become more aware of data categorization strategies.

    Regardless of whether you ultimately decide it's best to manage data governance through an on-premise solution or in the cloud, take the necessary time to investigate data governance tools. They could give your company insights that are particularly useful during compliance audits or as your company starts using data in new ways.

    Evaluate the tradeoffs

    As you figure out if it's better to entrust data governance to a cloud company or handle it on-site, don't forget that each option has pros and cons.

    Cloud companies offer convenience, but only if their data governance principles align with your needs. And, if customization is one of your top concerns, on-premise data governance gives you the most flexibility to make tweaks as your company evolves.

    Studying the advantages and disadvantages of these options carefully before making a decision should allow you to get maximally informed about how to accommodate for your company's present and future needs. 

    Author: Kayla Matthews

    Source: Information-management

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