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A buyer's guide to selecting the best data warehouse product

Last updated:March 2016

Editor's note

Despite the emergence of Hadoop and other big data technologies, the data warehouse is as relevant as ever. Data warehouses provide companies with a practical, proven way to analyze structured business data to support decision making.

As this buyer's guide demonstrates, there are numerous benefits from deploying and using a data warehouse product. These include helping organizations improve operations and business processes, thereby increasing revenue and raising profits. Designed for decision support and business intelligence activities, a data warehouse allows a company to analyze its historical data over time. This data is often aggregated so that it's easier to scan, access and query, providing users with multiple views of information presented in logical, easily understood groupings.  

There are four main types of data warehouse platforms: traditional relational database management systems, specialized analytics database management systems (DBMSs), appliances and cloud data warehouse offerings. The data warehouse environment can differ greatly across organizations, however, as these platforms can be deployed as an enterprise data warehouse (EDW), data marts or a combination thereof. An EDW is used across an enterprise, whereas a data mart is smaller and focuses on individual or specific departmental needs. Depending on the size of your organization, you can create multiple data marts and integrate them with an EDW.

In addition to company size, several other factors go into determining which data warehouse product is right for your organization, including IT department size and availability of resources and budget considerations. Once you know which deployment option makes the most sense for your site, your next step is to investigate the capabilities of each platform type and match them to your needs. You can use the criteria outlined in this buyer's guide along with an analysis of the leading data warehouse products to help pinpoint which platform would work best.

1The business benefits of implementing a data warehouse platform

Before deciding to invest in a data warehouse product, you must first explore how your company could benefit from using this technology to capture and analyze data from various sources. Armed with this information, you can match the various use cases for data warehousing to the most appropriate data warehouse platform types.

2Criteria to consider when choosing a data warehouse platform

Every data warehouse vendor offers a variety of different options, and while there are core features that every platform should include, your implementation and usage requirements will dictate which are most important to you. Knowing what to look for in a vendor product can help you determine which platform is right for you.

3Which data warehouse product is right for your business?

Now that you've determined which deployment option and platform features will best meet your company's needs, let's examine the leading vendor data warehouse products.

4The leading data warehouse platforms

Is your company considering a traditional or analytics DBMS for its data warehouse? What about an appliance? Or is it contemplating using a cloud data warehouse as a service? Here, we take an in-depth look at the top data warehouse products offered today.

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