When you hear about data virtualisation, do you think just about business intelligence and analytics? If so, you are missing out on a lot of capabilities of this technology. Some of the main data virtualisation tools include enhanced data federation, logical abstraction, and agile data services that provide semantic integration, unified data governance, and security.
The benefits of data virtualisation for companies include quickly combining disparate data sources, increasing productivity, accelerating time-to-value, eliminating latency, maintaining data warehouses, and reducing the need for multiple copies of data and less hardware.
So, let's talk about some myths related to data virtualisation.
1. If we have a data warehouse, we don't need to virtualise our data
The main advantage of data virtualisation is speed-to-market, where we can build a solution in a fraction of the time it takes to build a data warehouse, because we don’t need to design and build the data warehouse and the ETL to copy the data into it.
The sources of unstructured data are increasing every day. The Internet of Things (IoT) is generating massive amounts of data, such as raw data that must be collected and analysed. You can still use your data warehouse, but virtualisation allows you to combine these new data sources to generate better information and use it to give your business processes a competitive advantage.
Data virtualisation can be used as a data warehouse, but it is more beneficial if data marts are connected to existing data warehouses to augment them. They can be added after the fact and changed fluidly, and there is no need to combine them all into one siloed data source. The flexibility of data virtualisation allows you to customise the data structure to suit your business without completely disrupting your current data solutions.
2. Implementing new data technology isn’t cost-effective. Copying the data means more hardware costs, more software licenses, more ETL flows to build and maintain, more data inconsistencies and more data governance costs, so using data virtualization can also save you a lot of money.
Data virtualisation software costs are comparable to building a custom data centre. Additionally, it is required fewer IT staff to handle agile BI tasks. Companies have different sources of information, and gathering data can be difficult and time-consuming. Therefore, they use data virtualization software to help them have faster and better-integrated tools to help and improve their decision-making process. Unlike traditional integration methods, it uses technology to collect real-time data for greater flexibility and less capital.
3. Data virtualization is too complex. This is not true, there are several tools specifically designed to query virtualised data. The available software allows users to query multiple data sources from any of a number of emerging data sources. Most virtualised BI software is simple enough to be used by non-technical people.
4. Data virtualisation and data federation are the same thing. Data federation is only one aspect of data virtualisation. Data federation can help your business by homogenising data stored on different servers, different access languages, or different APIs. This capability allows data to be successfully mined from myriad sources, enabling the maximization of knowledge patterns for efficient and customised utilisation.
5. Data virtualisation can’t provide real-time data. The virtualised source is updated using a live connection instead of possibly expired snapshot data. It is closer to providing real-time data and faster than other data types that must maintain a persistent connection. Using real-time data in analytics can provide your business with up-to-date results, facilitating accurate and effective solutions, such as machine learning or AI capabilities.
Data virtualisation is faster than ETL by extracting only pieces of data for analysis instead of full copies of the data (data reduction). Due to compression, algorithm selection and redundancy elimination, the raw data is presented in a more compact way, so operations are performed at a higher speed. Replication takes time and costs money, with its “zero replication” approach, data virtualisation benefits business users to receive up-to-the-minute information without investing in additional storage.
With the continuous development of technology systems, the importance of data virtualisation is becoming more and more obvious. Accessing information across languages, platforms and storage types will ensure that everyone has the important data they need.
With our help and the help of our international partner Denodo, data virtualisation doesn't have to be complicated or intimidating. Contact us today to find out what data virtualisation can do for your business, and get rid of some myths.