Monday, August 23, 2010

Products for Data Warehouse management on cloud and in premises : CloudOlap and WhereScape RED

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There are two ways to create Data Warehouse, one is using the traditional development life-cycle and other is by using accelerators (i.e. products) that build on the top of data warehouse related technologies provided by vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Teradata and others. In the traditional development methodology, we start with profiling metadata & cataloguing data quality in OLTP, develop relational DW and Cube design, and corresponding ETL tasks in parallel. This process is the suitable way when you have sufficient time, resources and funds to roll out your enterprise wide DW in a phased approach, mostly when your DW is integrated into your proprietary application.

But when you need to ramp up your DW in a short period of time, and you have a limited IT Staff with the right skills, within your organization for developing your DW, one can consider investment into products like WhereScape RED. Some of the noteworthy features of this product are:

1) It provides a GUI for developing DW in a very agile manner
2) It builds ETL processes for fueling the data into DW that you build with this tool
3) It has support for a majority of standard DB / BI vendors
4) It creates automated documentation as a part of the development process
5) License of this product can be quite costly, and the way it can be compensated is by saving on the duration of time for which technical staff needs to be working on the project.

A better idea can be gained from this client story ( Coinstar ) of WhereScape, where they used it for developing their corporate data warehouse.

This product works on the top on DB and BI technologies that work in-premise. Had it been on the cloud, it would be one of the most impressive accelerators for MS BI DW development. WhereScape has been around in this market since quite a few number of years, but seems like cloud on not on their agenda till now.

One another product that provides similar kind of functionality in-premise or on the cloud ( Amazon EC2 ) is CloudOlap. Though I have not evaluated this product much deeply, this video gives a very nice overview of the functionality of this product. CloudOlap provides various power products for Microsoft and SaaS Data Warehousing, in-premises as well as on the EC2 cloud environment. If this product is what it claims to be, I would rate this product much higher compared to WhereScape RED, and the reason it that it is one of the rare products that leverages MS BI to a SaaS platform on the EC2 cloud, and it provides functionality similar to WhereScape in-premises. May be WhereScape should start thinking about it !!


jamiet said...

Hi Siddharth,
Interesting take on Wherescape. My opinion was a little different when they demo'd at the SQL UG earlier this year. When he stood up and said "we can build a data warehouse in X hours" or whatever he said I was immediately on teh defensive - marketing statements like that always get my goat because they show no appreciation of the work involved in building a data warehouse.

In most DW implementations I've been involved in the majority of the work involves requirements gathering, data quality validation/communication/fixing, checking and re-checking with users, bug fixing, documentation, chasing IT resources etc...

In fact, I find that in actuality the amount of time spent writing code represents a very small percentage of total time - so any product that claims they can take your development time from months to weeks is pure bunkum. Just my opinion.


Michael Whitehead, CEO, WhereScape said...

Hi Siddhart, Thanks for the kind words on WhereScape RED.
As you point out we are very focused on helping people deliver data warehouses quicker, and making them easier to change. On the pricing...not sure we have ever been described as costly before! Justification for WhereScape is on cost savings, and it is a very straight forward calculation of software v labor costs. And customers generally find we are a lot cheaper than traditional ETL tools! Add in the fact that training costs are reduced since we use the native database, produce native database objects (tables, stored procedures, scripts, indexes etc etc) and the economics become pretty compelling.

Siddharth Mehta said...

Hi Jamie,
I agree that implementation takes a short period of time, and a major time is spent on analysis. But this is provided you have sufficient IT Staff guided by some experts like yourself, and in real world as you know, there are all kind of projects where people want to get reports out of DW in hours. This can't be done without tools like WhereScape.

Siddharth Mehta said...

Hi Michael,

On the pricing part, I said this keeping in mind that if companies would go for outsourcing to countries like india, labor cost would be much less compared to the same in US / UK. Again if you go for cloud and use products like CloudOLAP which works in-premises / on cloud, WhereScape RED looks quite expensive.

It would be great if you can share a case study that shows the economics of pricing in a project, where the client has outsourced development to countries like India and still your product can make the bill lighter.

Anonymous said...

Hi Siddharth,

In India, are there any WhereScape RED/3D training institute?


Paul B. Felix said...

Nice post, Siddharth. You may also want to take a look at This is a revolutionary SaaS based product launched in early 2012 that streamlines data mart development. LeapFrogBI deploys to SQL Server and provides a platform that enables developers to speed development while also enabling unhindered customization abilities in native tools. LeapFrogBI offers a much higher value prop as compared to competing products.

Jyotiranjan said...

The Worst part of WhereScape RED is , they do not have proper step by step tutorial or videos from which a beginner can learn and find it interesting. If they really like to market the product they should give proper tutorials.I hope they will understand and give some good one in very near future.

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