Today database vendor Greenplum unveiled a "solution for enterprise data clouds." The company claims this represents a shift in how enterprise data is managed, and it's aiming to displace data warehouse appliances in large enterprises all together. Fox Interactive Media, T-Mobile, Zions Bank, and others are already working with Greenplum to build early iterations of enterprise data clouds (EDCs).
So what the heck are EDCs? It turns out that it's just jargon for using cloud computing to create and manage multiple data warehouses on a common pool of commoditized hardware. I wanted the real scoop, so I sat down with Scott Yara, Greenplum's cofounder and president, to talk about this new offering and the future of enterprise-class data warehousing.
whurley: What's the most significant benefit you think customers will see as a result of enterprise data clouds?
Yara: There is a fundamental friction that stems from the competing needs of business analysts and IT operations. Business analysts want the flexibility and power to combine and analyze any data, and get their work done without resource delays or long process hurdles. IT operations wants to centralize and consolidate to reduce costs, streamline support, and deliver better quality of service. Until now these have been largely irreconcilable -- but no longer.
The answer is self-service -- i.e., have IT provide a platform that allows business analysts to serve themselves without IT involvement. In a self-serve environment, IT gives the business the power and control to instantly provision and deploy data warehouses. A warehouse is provisioned from an infrastructure pool that could consist of on-premise physical servers, virtual machines, or potentially even public cloud resources. The self-service provisioning layer needs to provide a Web interface to business analysts, allowing them to create and manage warehouses. Meanwhile, IT operations can focus on assembling pools of tens, hundreds, or thousands of servers to hold the warehouses.
By getting this right, each party can now focus on doing what it does best. Business analysts can spin up warehouses in minutes as projects dictate, and bring together the data they need in their own project space. IT operations can manage the infrastructure pools and self-serve provisioning platform as one infrastructure, without the need to concern themselves with the contents and usage of any particular warehouse.