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Projects in an Infrastructure World

22 April 2009
Michael Whitehead

WhereScape RED's "sweet spot" has long been considered the rapid delivery of projects.  Our customers are commonly under extreme business pressure with short time lines.  While the pressure hasn't eased - you could certainly make a case that it has got a lot worse for a lot of our clients - we have noticed that we are doing more and more projects within an infrastructure world. 

In a project world WhereScape RED IS the infrastructure: we know about the entire data warehouse, information about all the objects is in our meta data, self documentation and impact analysis covers everything from source systems through to cubes, hopefully all the code is generated, changes can be easily propagated etc etc and life is a beautiful thing.

In an infrastructure world WhereScape RED is a part of rather than the entire infrastructure.  A common manifestation of this (and one we are seeing a lot of now) is where we are bought in to provide a rapid data marting capability.


The enterprise data warehouse (EDW) team may be functioning as an excellent governance/data management utility, but there are still local constituencies that go off and do their own thing using the EDW as the base.  The reasons given are numerous: it takes too long for the EDW team to make changes for me, the warehouse models are too complex, too much (or too little or not at the needed grain) data, I need slightly different data for my project etc etc.

After all the effort that has been put into building the EDW, it seems a pity to let anarchy reign at the project level.  WhereScape RED etains the ability to build rapidly while still providing the EDW team with a manageable environment.  An example of where this occurred was a telco who recently purchased WhereScape RED.  They had built a pretty good EDW on a Teradata, but a set of users needed to build a churn model quickly.  Rather than extract the data into a local data mart (which would almost certainly have been SQL Server) they were able to build a churn model specific to the business unit, on the Teradata platform, preserving the architectural integrity and creating a manageable solution quickly.

We also get involved where customers want to start with a project (as this will free the funding) but want to ensure that whatever they build can be delivered quickly, and be retained as part of the eventual EDW.

This approach has the benefit of providing immediate value, while still supporting architectural value.  The WhereScape RED "project" layer is retained, while the source to project ETL is replaced with source to EDW ETL.

Obviously this is easiest where WhereScape RED is used for the conventional ETL as well (as all the meta data can be retained) but it is generally trivial to rewrite the logic in a traditional ETL tool.

We expect to see a lot more of WhereScape RED in an infrastructure world.  Data warehouse teams are expected to do more with less, and the idea of retaining the existing data warehouse while using smart software to rapidly deliver project based solutions is compelling.


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