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Gartner Says Data Warehousing Reaching Its Most Significant Inflection Point Since Its Inception

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 will be the year when data warehousing reaches what could well be its most-significant inflection point since its inception, according to Gartner Inc. The biggest, and possibly most-elaborate data management system in the IT house is changing. The new data warehouse will introduce new scope for flexibility in adding new information types and change detection.

"In 2011, we are seeing data warehouse platforms evolve from an information store supporting traditional business intelligence (BI) platforms to a broader analytics infrastructure supporting operational analytics, corporate performance management and other new applications and uses, such as operational BI and performance management," said Donald Feinberg, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Organizations are adding workloads with online transaction processing (OLTP) access, and data loading has moved to intra-day — approaching continuous — loading in many cases."

In 2010, cost control and performance optimization became critical evaluation criteria and, consequently, the market has begun to accept a higher first cost in exchange for lower administrative and management costs over the life of the data warehouse.

"We are seeing revenue increases for software licensing in the data warehouse DBMS market as vendors have expanded their offerings and marketed their products as 'easier to implement and manage'," Mr. Feinberg said. "While cost is driving alternative architectures, performance optimization is driving multitiered data architectures, including a strong interest in in-memory data mart deployments. At the high end, data warehousing is now mission-critical."

Gartner firmly believes that the data warehouse "ideal" is changing and will give way to new kind of warehouse that addresses more extreme types of information assets. As a result, data warehouse DBMS vendors must begin to address numerous, new information asset formats, or be relegated to supporting roles in the future.

Analysts maintain that there is a real opportunity for data integration tools vendors to challenge the database management system (DBMS) vendors as the primary data management architecture, and the DBMS vendors should not underestimate this potential competition. The market is shifting from storage and access to delivery and comprehension, and that means context as depicted in metadata will become paramount. Another contender for the crown of information provider is business process platforms, which deliver business process management. Although late to the game and less mature than either DBMS or data integration, these solutions assist in managing the business context of information management.

"By 2013, we predict that data warehouse DBMS vendors will combine their offerings to become something more like an information management platform. The DBMS will become, above all else, an execution platform. It will support and perform data management and integration tasks as well as for query and analysis execution," said Mark Beyer, research vice president at Gartner. "Many traditional data warehouse DBMS vendors already offer both the DBMS and execution platforms — but the independents may surprise the mega vendors. By all indications, acquisitions as well as research and development will set the stage and the deciding factors for the big winners and losers when the 'title fight' begins."

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "The State of Data Warehousing in 2011." The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1533217.

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The Gartner Business Intelligence Summits provide the insights, frameworks and best practices to implement BI, analytics and performance management initiatives that drive better decision-making and business performance across the organization. Through a unique mix of analyst and peer interaction, it helps make the case, drive adoption, create and sustain successful BI strategies.

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