Why Your Data Warehouse is Failing

Why Your Data Warehouse is Failing

Why Your Data Warehouse is Failing.


 

Being a critical component of any data-driven organisation, a Data Warehouse is a necessity.  

However, you’re probably wondering why your Data Warehouse is the biggest pain in your life, or maybe you don’t even have one yet?! Unfortunately, there isn’t one quick fix to solve all your problems – as nice as that’d be!  

But it’s time to get real – most Data Warehouses are crap. And, ultimately, yours could be one of them.  

A poorly designed or maintained Data Warehouse can cause serious problems for your business, becoming a hindrance rather than a help. Which we’re sure you don’t want, and we certainly don’t want that for you!  

But why are you dealing with a crap Data Warehouse? It doesn’t have to be this way; you shouldn’t be suffering! 

Keep scrolling (and reading, obviously) and you will learn why your Data Warehouse is failing and how to eliminate your Data Warehouse pain and experience Data Warehouse pleasure.  


 

With a mass of legacy code built up over a significant amount of time, by an amalgamation of different developers, consultants, freelancers or even monkeys – your Data Warehouse has no coding standards. Each individual has their own way of working and different approaches to answering your technical problems, which causes points of concern.  

Arguably, this doesn’t solve any of the technical problems you have encountered within your Data Warehouse. It just raises more problems!  

With the different processes, different ways to answer problems and no coding standards, from these individuals, it makes the support process a massive pain. Resulting in your having to sift through the code, try to understand what is happening, why it is happening, how it is happening, where it is happening… you get the picture.  

Consequently, it takes hours to try and figure out what caused the problem in the first place! And in that time, you’ve probably encountered even more issues which you need to spend even more time trying to fix. It’s a vicious cycle, to be honest! 

As if this wasn’t enough, the support overhead for this is massive! Having to do these manual and repeatable tasks is time-consuming and a huge strain on your resources. Let’s face it, do you really enjoy doing these mundane tasks? 

 


Repetitive tasks kill productivity.  

The more time that is being spent on doing mundane, repeatable tasks the less time you spend on the things that matter and benefit your organisation’s growth and overall success. 

Why are you doing repeatable tasks? You could spend your time wisely, and more efficiently, by building out new data features and data products that will help your business advance and contribute to the building of a data-driven culture. Oh wait, you don’t have the time because of these mundane, repeatable tasks!  

Why waste time and money when you can automate these processes? Seems simple, right? 

 


 

Data is clearly vital to your organisation, which is why you need to stop wasting time processing data and struggling to build new data processes. You need to start spending your time being laser-focused on delivering data-driven analytics. 

This is where we can help you!  

At Engaging Data, our experience with Data Automation tools has helped us build many different data platforms for our clients.  

Working closely with you, we’re here for a good time not a long time! Taking your data and requirements and transforming them into usable assets in a matter of weeks – not months.


If you don’t experience this at the moment and your Data Warehouse is failing or if it is the biggest pain within your organisation, we have something for you! 

 Start experiencing Data Warehouse pleasure instead of Data Warehouse pain.  

Get our FREE DOWNLOAD on the 10 Reasons Why Your Data Warehouse is Killing You and stop your Data Warehouse from failing!   

In this download, there is even more insight and information into why your Data Warehouse is failing.  Go on, download it!  

Or you could just keep your struggling with your crap Data Warehouse – it’s up to you! 

 


 

 

 

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Reasons Why Your Data Warehouse is Killing You!

12 + 6 =

By submitting your information, you’re giving us permission to email you. You can unsubscribe at any time. FYI: We won’t spam your inbox!

Using Pebble Templates in WhereScape RED to Deal with Hard Deletes in an ODS Table

Using Pebble Templates in WhereScape RED to Deal with Hard Deletes in an ODS Table

Using Pebble Templates in WhereScape RED to Deal with Hard Deletes in an ODS Table. 


 

In a recent YouTube video, we discussed how to use Pebble Templates in WhereScape RED to Deal with hard Deletes in an ODS Table

Giving an overview of WhereScape RED, and the benefits it has for you and your organisation.

Then delving into Data Stores and how we expect them to work, especially around Historic Data Stores.

Enabling you to store data and capture changes to your data in a historic Data Store, WhereScape RED is a great piece of software to do this.

Also, we discussed how we have created our FREE Pebble Template which can be run as a custom procedure after loading the Data into the Data Store.

Our Pebble Template has been designed to identify and end or update the DSS_CURRENT_FLAG and consequently update the DSS_END_DATE in line with the setting within the Data Store.

To find out more, watch the video:

The Problems Documenting a Data Warehouse

The Problems Documenting a Data Warehouse

.

The Problem Documenting a Data Warehouse


More data is being collected, stored, and analysed than ever before. One of the digital age challenges is how and where we store all this data safely and accessibly.

A modern Data Warehouse can solve many of these issues, using multi-tiered architecture to ensure different users with various needs can access the information they need. In order to expand and develop a Data Warehouse, documentation is invaluable.  

Are you considering approaching a Data Warehouse using a documentation method? Then read on to find out more! 


What is Documentation?

Data documentation is vital in many ways for a Data Warehouse, and it’s how you can ensure that your data will be understood and accessible by any user across your organisation. Documentation will explain how your data was created, its context, structure, content, and any data manipulations.  

Documentation is crucial if you’re looking to continue developing, expanding, and enhancing your Data Warehouse. However, it’s essential to understand what documentation entails to ensure your Data Warehouse operates smoothly and its processes run smoothly.  

Documenting a Data Warehouse

Like we said, the amount of data that we collect as store as organisations is increasing and traditional Data Warehousing that may be set up using a simpler database structure will often struggle to cope. Partially with the sheer volume of information it needs to store and analyse, it also needs to be accessed by various users, often in different ways. A document-based approach to data warehousing will allow for streamlining of data from multiple sources and multi-user access.  

When documenting your Data Warehouse, you should begin with creating standards for your documentation, data structure names, and ETL processes, as this creates the foundation upon everything else is built. A robust and excellent Data Warehouse will have straightforward and understandable documentation.  

A successful Data Warehouse implementation will often come down to the data solution’s documentation, design, and performance. However, if you can accurately capture the business requirements, then using documentation, you should be able to develop a solution that will meet the needs of all users across an organisation.  

At Engaging Data, documenting a Data Warehouse has become second nature. Although it’s not necessarily the easiest or most logistically straightforward part of the process, it’s necessary to ensure your data warehouse processes run smoothly.  

What Documentation do I need for a Data Warehouse project?

The exact pieces of documentation that you need may vary by your particular Data Warehousing project. However, these are some of the significant elements of documentation that you should have:  

  • The business requirements document will outline and define the project scope and top-level objects from the perspective of the management team and project managers.  
  • Functional/information requirements document, which will outline the functions that different users must be able to complete at the end of the project. This document will help you to focus on what the Data Warehouse is being used for and what different pieces of data and information the users will require from the data warehouse.  
  • The fact/qualifier matrix is a powerful tool that will help the team understand and associate the metrics with what’s outlined in the business requirements document.  
  • A data model is a visual representation of the data structures held within the Data Warehouse. A data model is a valuable visual aid to ensure that the business’s data, analytical and reporting needs are captured within the project. Plus, data models are helpful for DBAs to create the different data structures to house the data.  
  • A data dictionary is a comprehensive list of the various data elements found in the data model, their definition, source database name, table name and field name from which the data element was created.  
  • Source to target ETL mapping document, which is a list focusing on the target data structure, plus defines the source of the data and any transformation that the source element goes through before landing in the target table.  

What are the problems of Documenting a Data Warehouse?

Documenting a Data Warehouse can be a massive project, depending on the amount of data, the number of users that need access, and the business requirements. As the amount of data held within a Data Warehouse increases, management systems will need to dig further to find and analyse the data. This is especially an issue within traditional Data Warehouses, and as data volume increases, the speed and efficiency of a data warehouse can decrease.  

Generally, spending time to understand and document your business needs will make documenting your Data Warehouse easier because Data Warehousing is driven by the data you provide. If you don’t take the time to map these critical pieces of information early in the process, you may run into problems later on. Similarly, the correct processing of your data and structuring it in a way that makes sense for your organisation today and in the future. If you don’t set yourself up for the future, structuring data becomes more complex and can slow down the processing as you add more information to your Data Warehouse. In addition, it can make it more difficult for the system manager to read the data and optimise it for analytics.  

Overall, the better the initial documentation, planning, and business information model are, the easier your implementation process will be and make it easier to continue to add data to your warehouse. By carefully designing and configuring your data from the start, you’ll be rewarded with better results.  

Another potential problem in documenting a Data Warehouse is choosing the wrong warehouse type for your business needs and resources. Many organisations will allow various departments to access the system, stressing the system and impacting efficiency. By choosing the right type of warehouse for your organisation and making a future-proofed decision, you can balance the usefulness and performance of your data warehouse.   

Data Warehousing is an excellent system for keeping up with your business’s various data needs. By making many long-term decisions and preparing at the start, you can avoid many potential problems when documenting your data warehouse. However, you can prevent many challenges associated with data warehouse deployment and implementation by utilising a tool like WS Doc.  


What is WS Doc?

WS Doc is a simple-to-use tool that automates a lot of the processes of documenting your data warehouse by automating the publication of WhereScape documentation to your choice of WIKI technology.  

In addition, with WS Doc, you can collaborate on workflows, editing data sets and input, allowing various users to work on the project simultaneously. As well as integrating with other apps and systems, WS Doc makes collaboration and streamlined working possible.  

Why was WS Doc created?

WS Doc sought to bring document automation and assembly to more industries, turning tedious and detailed work into automated processes and systems.  

By allowing you to gather data and instantly generate template documents, even generating document sets from your data, you can save up to 90% of the time that you’d have spent on drafting documentation.

By automating the publication of WhereScape documentation to your choice of WIKI Technology (Confluence, SharePoint, GitHub, or something else), you’re providing your documentation with the power of the WIKI technology, allowing it to be easier to digest, apply, and share.

Overall, WS Doc streamlines and automates the process, speeding it up and making it less resource-heavy. 

Why Choose WS Doc?

In conclusion, by choosing WS Doc to document your Data Warehouse project, you’re utilising a simple tool to automate processes that otherwise would take a long time, as well as using a lot of resources, and that’s not even considering the possibility of human error in a process that requires a lot of detail and repetitive actions.  

We’ve discussed some potential problems you can run into when documenting a Data Warehouse. However, with WS Doc you can overcome these issues because WS Docs is a tool that promotes effective communication and collaboration, engaging with the people using data. It saves time and resources by automating the publication and implementation of documentation. And finally, it ultimately enhances your existing toolset, offering a developed, streamlined, and simple-to-use experience.   


Here at Engaging Data, we utilise WS Doc in the documentation of Data Warehouse projects we carry out for our clients.

If you’d like to know more about the process or see if WS Doc could be the right tool for your organisation and data needs, why not fill out the form below, and a member of our expert team will be in touch?  


How Jenkins Takes Wherescape to Another Level

How Jenkins Takes Wherescape to Another Level

Engaging Data Explains :

How Jenkins Takes Wherescape to Another Level


Data warehousing has grown in importance and popularity, as the global market for analytical systems continues to increase. The global market for data warehousing is expected to touch $30 billion by 2025, based on annual growth of around 12%. This led 76% of IT managers and executives to state that they are investing more in their analytics platforms when surveyed.

As more businesses use data warehouses, efficiency savings and improvements are expected going forward. Data automation is a concept that will benefit many companies, but it’s still important to choose the best solution.


Game-Changing Solution

That’s why using Jenkins to deploy Wherescape solutions is a game-changer. This integration tool used with Wherescape data warehouse automation software is rocket fuel for an already powerful package. 

With Jenkins, it’s possible for developers to build and test software projects continuously, thanks to actions built into the tool. This makes it easier for developers to integrate changes to any project, increasing flexibility in working practices. This can be hugely advantageous in the fast-moving contemporary data climate.

And this is just the beginning of the integration offered by Jenkins. The tool also makes it possible to integrate with other apps and software solutions, by installing plugins for the external tool – examples of this include Git and Powershell. There are over 1,000 plugins available for Jenkins, meaning that the platform supports the building and testing of virtually any WhereScape project.

Low-Maintenance Software

Another key advantage of Jenkins is its low-maintenance nature. The tool requires very little attention once it has been installed. However, when updates are required, the software includes a built-in GUI tool, ensuring that this process is as painless as possible.

Yet while it offers an ideal platform, Jenkins also benefits from continual improvement, thanks to its open-source nature. There is already an enthusiastic community contributing to the tweaking and evolution of the software, and this is expected to grow further still in the years to come.

Jenkins is a shining example of continuous integration, delivery and deployment, sometimes referred to as CI/CD. This approach to data warehousing means that code changes that translate into real-world improvements can be made more frequently and reliably, due to the automation of deployment steps.

Easy Plug-Ins

The process for plugging Jenkins into Wherescape begins with downloading the Java SE Development Kit, at which point you will also need to add JAVA_HOME to your environment variables. That is the only technical part; you then simply download Jenkins using the installer and follow the on-screen instructions. Before you can use the software, it will be necessary to create an admin username and password. Then you’re ready to go!

Among the palette of useful features included in the software is a list view of open projects, which provides an instantaneous insight into the status of everything important that you’re dealing with. This is the sort of feature that has ensured that as well as being powerful and flexible, Jenkins has also earned kudos in the data warehousing world for being user-friendly. 

Jenkins incorporates a user interface that is simple to pick up and navigate. There is a vast range of online tutorials available, while the active community that contributes to the tool is always on hand to offer assistance.

Configure and Customise

Another important aspect of Jenkins is the scope of configuration and customisation that it makes possible. Users can be managed by creating groups and roles, and this can all be handled elegantly via some straightforward menu prompts. Jobs can also be configured; for example, the tool enables them to be executed via timed intervals. 

Every aspect of the Jenkins software has been cultivated to ensure maximum functionality with minimum effort, yet enabling users to customise and monitor everything extensively at all stages of the process. You can even set up automatic email notifications, ensuring that everyone involved with a data warehousing project is kept in the loop.

At a time when the amount of information that companies deal with is escalating rapidly, data warehousing is becoming increasingly important. It’s simply not possible to ignore big data any longer; this is tantamount to being left behind by your competitors. Jenkins & WhereScape is an elegant data warehousing solution that has helped a multitude of businesses get to grips with their data warehousing requirements, without investing a huge amount of effort in training, onboarding, or hiring experts.

Wherescape was already a market-leader in its field, but with the advent of CI/CD tools such as Jenkins, this top solution just became even more compelling.

High-Level Design Documentation

High-Level Design Documentation

Engaging Data Explains:

High Level Design Documentation –


Have you ever needed to create high-level documents of your data automation that explains a project/sprint within your WhereScape Red repository? Maybe so it looks a little like the above?

We recently worked with a client who wanted to represent the amount of change undertaken within a single project. They required something simple yet demonstrated the amount of change within each layer of the data automation.

Instead of creating something new, we re-used the WhereScape RED Overview design, WhereScape used to illustrate the design of the architecture.

A sample data solution shaped into the high-level design.

Engaging Data consultants worked with the client to create a solid naming convention and development standards. With this foundation and the metadata repository, we developed a script that produced an HTML document with details the client was looking for.

The idea continued to develop and now has options to include the following details:

  • Number of Jobs, Procedures and Host Scripts that support each layer.
  • Data Volume per object and summarised per layer
  • Processing time for each layer, with avg completion time & avg time to run

WhereScape RED and 3D speeds up development & documentation of the technical design. This solution utilises the metadata to create support or narrative documents for other business areas.

Build re-usable scripts, dashboards or reports for non-technical business teams & provide clarity around the technical function of your automation.


If you are interested in receiving a copy of the script that produced this report, please email simon.meacher@engagingdata.co.uk

Automated Deployment

Automated Deployment

Engaging Data Explains:

Automated Deployment


Continuous Delivery using Octopus Deploy

With WhereScape RED

Many companies are looking to make Code changes/deployment easier. Often the ability to deploy code to production is surrounded by red tape & audited control. If you don’t have this, count yourself lucky!

Jenkins & Octopus Deploy are two, to name a few (see here), that are helping to automate the deployment of code to production. Allowing companies to adopt a continuous deployment/delivery approach.

For a long time, WhereScape RED has had its own method of automating deployment, using the command line functions.

Why Automate?

Using tools such as WhereScape RED allow elements of automating deployments; however, we know that companies like to use a common toolset for their code deployments; like having a single picture of all the deployments and, in most cases, realise that they want to release multiple code deployments on different platforms because RED doesn’t do everything.

Git?

No problem! There are several ways to do this. Our perfered option is to push the deployment application to the code store respository. Afterall, it is more practical to store the changes you want to push to Production and not every change to any objects, including those that are not meant for Production!

Can I do This Now?

WhereScape RED uses a command prompt file to send commands to the admin EXE. All changes will be applied to the destination database (via ODBC). Installation settings/config is set using XML & a log file is created as part of the process. The XML file contains the DSN of the destination database. Let’s come back to this point later. The XML contains all of the settings that are applied when deploying the application. Settings like Alter or Recreate Job. Please make sure you have this set correctly. You do not want to re-create a Data Store table to lose the history!

Permissions are important. The key to running the command line to publish changes to production is that the service account executing the commands has permissions to change the underlying database.

Integration with Octopus

Octopus deploy uses PowerShell as it’s common execution code. So we have adapted all of our WhereScape BAT files to PowerShell in order to get everything working.

Building a list of repeatable tasks within Octopus is easy & provides an opportunities to create a standard release process that meets with your companies standards/processes. Tasks like database backup, metadata backup and much much more!

It can even run test scripts!

We used a PowerShell script to create a full backup of the database, to be used should the deployment fail. With a larger database, this may not always be the best solution. Depending on your environment set up you may have options to use OS snapshots or other methods to roll back the changes. The good news is Octopus Deploy works with most technology, so you should find something that works for your technology stack.

Recently, we been playing with creating rollback WhereScape applications on the target data warehouse. This is great for restoring the structure of the objects quickly and easily. Reducing risk is a great value add!

Go, Go, Go!

Triggering the deployment was easy, we could set this up in many ways, but used “does the application files exists” trigger to get things started – until the humans learned to trust the Octopus process.

However, linking the release to Jira is just as simple. Imagine, you’ve completed development and want to sent the code to UAT. You click the button to update the ticket…….wait a few seconds…..and the code is deployed! It’s complicated to set up, but you get the idea.

Final Thoughts

Octopus is a great tool and the automation really helps to control the process of deployments. Coupled with WhereScape automation, this provides and excellent end to end solution for data warehousing.


If you are interested in CI/CD and WhereScape RED/3D, book a call us and find out how it could help your team.