A data warehouse is an organization or company’s repository of information. Think of it as a huge digital library composed of a very large number of entries of records of information, all stored in a number of servers. Depending on the size of the data warehouse, you can have anywhere from one to a few hundred servers, all running at all hours of the day, the sole task of which is to catalog and retain the information that is vital to your operation. That being said, a good data warehouse not only stores and safeguards the data that you encode into it, it is also able to quickly and efficiently index all of those records and bits of information so that you will be able to pull the data you need at any given time. While database search methodologies are constantly evolving, the primary goal and feature of this is that searching through the database should be an accurate, precise and, as much as possible, speedy operation. There are also certain security aspects to running or maintaining a good data warehouse.
You will want your data warehouse to be secure and intrusion-proof, not only due to the sensitive nature of the data, but if the data warehouse is breached then your entire system is compromised, putting both you and your customers at great risk. In these days, where identity theft is rampant and Internet financial crimes are on the rise, information technology security is quickly becoming one of the more important disciplines that an information technology professional can learn. This coupled with a solid understanding of how a data warehouse works and how it can be utilized to serve a large number of business needs is what many companies these days are looking for.
Data warehouses also make extensive use of business intelligence tools to help extract, index and catalog the information that is stored in the data warehouse itself. Companies such as Oracle pride themselves on the stability and reliability of their data warehouses, on both the hardware and the software side. Apart from this, Oracle also develops a number of business intelligence tools specifically designed to extract data and generate relevant reports without going through the usual manual process. This is also one of the reasons why Oracle continues to be one of the more premium brands in data warehousing solutions today.
In terms of the physical space required to set up a data warehouse, the distinction always lies in the number of servers you will use for your data warehouse. You will need to first define how much space you need. In designing a data warehouse, you can always add more servers to come up with more storage space. Of course, you will need to do capacity planning considering your operational needs, but the good thing about having a modern data warehouse is that it is multi-tier – you can always add more servers when needed, hence generating more space for your data warehouse. All you need to do now is make sure that you can integrate the new servers into the existing system.