Data is the most valuable resource, are you prepared?
In the last few years, the amount of data being produced and consumed has dramatically increased. Data has become so important recently that The Economist said that ‘the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data’. As a result, it's important to consider a good data platform that is both functional and scalable to meet the objectives of one’s business or project.
A large industry has built up around serving the needs of data management lately, and there are now myriad options to choose from. It is important to look at several factors when picking a data platform, including cost, scalability, ease of use and performance.
Depending on the platform, costs are calculated based on several factors, but most often are a function of the amount of data being stored as well as the time a database is running. For example, Amazon RedShift charges $0.25 per hour that a database instance is running. Additional storage can be added at a variety of price points, allowing for exabytes of data to be stored. Most platforms provide cost calculators that can assist in estimating and budgeting expenses based on expected usage. The user can input how much storage and runtime is needed, and get a quote for the charges to be expected.
It is no use having a data platform set up if it can’t hold all the necessary data. Most data platforms allow for expansion of cloud-based storage to meet the requirements of the use case. Google’s Cloud BigQuery, for example, splits the storage into ‘active’ and ‘long term’ storage options, which are priced differently and categorized based on when the data was last accessed. The platform also comes with 10GB of storage for free each month.
Ease of Use
Getting at the data in a data platform is important, and most are part of an ecosystem to help with that process. Platforms usually have a management component, like data blending, that interfaces with storage and performance computing components to deliver a complete solution. Data stored in such platforms can be analyzed and integrated into business processes and tools to aid in decision making. Many platforms connect to software such as Alteryx, Tableau, or Power Query to aid in data discovery and analysis.
Reliability and speed are key considerations when setting up a data platform. Performance is a key benefit of a cloud-based platform as the storage and processing activities that used to be done on a local user’s machine can be transferred to a much more powerful computer elsewhere. Data platform providers have vast resources available that are shared among customers on demand. This allows for access to powerful computing for a fraction of what one would’ve paid just five or six years ago. Many platforms allow the user to choose what kind of performance is needed for the task at hand. For example, running a simple customer management database would require much less processing power than a machine learning algorithm for a financial institution. Rather than being locked into one level of performance, the user can choose the speeds and resources needed and switch between them easily.
Benefits and Results
Finding and using a good data platform is more important than ever in the world today. With data being produced at a previously unfathomable rate, its important to be prepared for the future. Using a cloud based platform provides the ability to scale operations and harness reliable computing power at a reasonable cost. There are plenty of providers and options to choose from, as well as a large number of specialists and consultants to help in the decision making process.