Data Lake vs. Data Warehouse

When a business is looking for a way to store large amounts of data to be used and analyzed in the future, it can consider two major solutions - a data lake or a data warehouse. While it is important to note that an organization can benefit from either of these technological solutions, they are not interchangeable. Understanding what each does, their benefits and drawbacks, and other factors will help ensure you choose the right solution for your specific needs.

What is a data lake and how is it used?

The concept of a data lake is still relatively new, though it is growing in popularity among industries that depend on holding massive amounts of data for future use. In this system, data is collected from different sources and stored in their native formats. There are no set limits for formats, size, or other factors, making it extremely easy to direct data into the lake. The data can come from transactions, document preparation, reporting software, logs, machine to machine, and other sources.

Once the information is saved into the data lake, it can be pulled out and used by any company’s authorized systems or employees. As it is being pulled out, the data is transformed into whatever format the person or system needs it to be. A data lake uses the ELT (Extract, Load, Transform) process, making it extremely fast and easy to add new information to this system. The key benefits of a data lake are:

  • Cost-effective – Data lakes benefit from the economies of scale since they can always take advantage of the largest storage solutions. Most data lakes are housed in the cloud, where storage space is affordable.

  • Format agnostic – There is no need to transform the data from one format to another before feeding it into the data lake, making data transfer much faster and easier.

  • Easily sharable – Using a simple permissions-based system, any person or system that needs data can access it. However, they will need to be able to transform the data into a format they can use.

What is a data warehouse and how is it used?

A data warehouse is another system designed to store and manage large amounts of data. With this option, however, the data is kept in files and folders formatted in specific ways to make them better organized and easier to find. And it makes sense because one of the primary uses of a data warehouse is to facilitate analytics to improve decision-making and overall business intelligence. Data warehouse systems use the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process, which requires additional processing when the data is flowing in. When pulling the data out for use, it will already be in a useful format so that the process will be faster and easier.

Like a data lake, companies can feed information into a data warehouse from multiple systems. Once fed into the system, it is also intended to remain in place, unedited, from that point forward, except in specific situations. When the data is needed, people or systems will pull it out and use that copy for whatever tasks need to be completed. The advantages of a data warehouse include:

  • Focused on business use – While technical systems and staff often use data lakes, a data warehouse is formatted specifically for use in business operations, including reporting and analytics.

  • Positive return on investment – A properly handled data warehouse implementation will support an entire business intelligence strategy. This has been shown to help businesses achieve excellent ROI.

  • Easier to access – Information within a data warehouse does not need to be formatted when pulling it out, making it faster and easier for those who are accessing it.

Standing up your data storage solution

Whether you need a data lake, a data warehouse, or both, it is important to ensure it is properly implemented to meet your needs today and long into the future. Due to the large capacity requirements of both these options, most companies want to take advantage of services that provide the infrastructure and support. Finding the right data lake or data warehousing companies does not have to be difficult. Here at Trianz, our consultants can help you find the right Data Lake or Data Warehouse as a Service providers based on your criteria.

We are authorized consultants for most major data warehousing companies and can help you with all your cloud data warehouse or data lake needs. If you already have a system set up, we can help you through data lake or data warehouse modernization to ensure you are taking advantage of all the latest technologies and services.

Contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about how we can help you get the best data storage solutions.

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