Big Data or Data Warehouse? Turbocharge Your Porsche – Buy An Elephant

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Rarely do I discuss specific vendors. But in this case I make an exception because the cause of the article is so egregious.

I saw an ad (for which someone actually paid money). The ad said –

“CLOUDERA-BIG DATA

Turbocharge your data warehouse”

It’s a free world, and anyone can say anything they want, especially when they are paying for it. But the truth is – data warehouse is an architecture and Big Data is a technology. They are not the same thing at all. And the people at Cloudera should know it. But maybe they don’t.

For all practical purposes a data warehouse and Big Data have little or no relationship. But the ad from Cloudera leads one to the conclusion that there somehow is a relationship between the two entities.

A data warehouse has a carefully constructed infrastructure that builds and maintains integrity of data in the data warehouse. If you want to do Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II or other styles of compliance reporting you can depend on your data warehouse. If you want to have a single version of the truth, the data warehouse is your place to go. If you want to coordinate the data that is being used by marketing, finance, accounting, sales and other organizations, the data warehouse is your place.

While it is true that the data warehouse often contains large amounts of data, there the comparison to Big Data ends. Big Data is good at gobbling up large amounts of data. But analyzing the data, using the data for integrated reporting, and trusting the data as a basis for compliance is simply not in the cards. There simply is not the carefully constructed and carefully maintained infrastructure surrounding Big Data that there is for the data warehouse. Any executive that would use Big Data for Sarbanes-Oxley reporting or Basel II reporting isn’t long for his/her job.
The foundations of data warehouse have been published and discussed for almost 25 years now. They are hardly secret. You would think that the executives of Cloudera would have familiarized themselves with what a data warehouse is.

Or maybe Cloudera simply doesn’t care. Maybe Cloudera just wants to sell technology at any price, joining the long list of high tech vendors who have made sales without caring about the truth of what they are saying.

So which is it Cloudera? Do you not know what a data warehouse is? Haven’t you taken the time to understand the subject you are publicly advertising? Or do you have so little integrity that you just want to make sales and you don’t really care what a data warehouse is.

Because the ads you are running lead a knowledgeable person to this conclusion.
Your ad makes as much sense as – “turbocharge your Porsche – buy an elephant.”

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Bill Inmon

About the Author:

Best known as the “Father of Data Warehousing”, Bill Inmon has become the most prolific and well-known author worldwide in the data warehousing and business intelligence arena. In addition to authoring more than 50 books and 650 articles, Bill has been a monthly columnist with the Business Intelligence Network, EIM Institute and Data Management Review. In 2007, Bill was named by Computerworld as one of the "Ten IT People Who Mattered in the Last 40 Years" of the computer profession.
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