Cloud computing is still on the up, with information technology research company Gartner predicting that by 2016 the Cloud will account for 90% of spending on new IT.
As the Cloud grows in use and popularity, giants such as Google and Amazon have responded with increasingly capable Cloud-based offerings, such as Google’s Compute Engine and Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud.
As the Cloud builds more steam and stretches, so too do the tasks that can be achieved using the Cloud.
Many businesses are now taking advantage of the Cloud to run applications that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. But what about databases?
With so many possibilities for Cloud computing, is it time your business considered moving your database applications to the Cloud?
Is It Time to ETL in the Cloud?
When it comes to using databases in the Cloud, one of the big questions facing any business is how to extract transform and load (ETL) data into your database, especially if your database is being hosted in the Cloud.
Asking questions about how to perform that and how to find the right Cloud-based service for your needs is an important starting point for any business looking to use the Cloud in this way.
If your business is looking to take advantage of the Cloud for your database and business intelligence needs, it is helpful to break the process down into steps and decide how much of it to migrate to the Cloud:
- You might choose to run your business intelligence application in the Cloud, but keep your database and ETL components on site;
- You might migrate both your database and business intelligence to the cloud, but still keep your ETL on site;
- You might move your ETL process to the Cloud too and run everything from there.
ETL in the Cloud is Flexible and Convenient
At first, moving your entire ETL process to the Cloud might seem daunting, but in fact it offers many advantages:
- Cloud-based infrastructure means that your database, ETL and business intelligence tools will be available from multiple locations, giving your business more flexibility;
- As the article “How to ETL in the Cloud in 3 Easy Steps… and Develop for Free!” points out, ETL in the Cloud is a cost effective option that means your business can develop your Cloud-based ETL process without paying large amounts up front;
- Using the Cloud means less physical hardware and software in your business premises, which means less repairs, less upgrades, and less time spent on those things;
- Your Cloud service provider will do a lot of the back end work, providing you with an easy to use user environment without the need for a great deal of technical input at your end.
Choosing the Right ETL Tool
If you’re ready to think about moving your ETL to the Cloud, it’s important that you choose the right tool for your business.
There are several Cloud-based ETL tools to choose from, so how do you match up the best one for your business? Start by understanding how many data sources your ETL needs to draw from, as you’ll find some services offer more flexibility in this respect than others.
Your ETL tool needs to play well with the business intelligence aspect of your database process, so you will want to look into how each tool integrates with your existing processes, Cloud-based or otherwise.
And finally, don’t forget to take into account the amount you want to invest at this stage so you can compare prices between services.
If you want to harness the potential for lightness and flexibility even when dealing with large datasets, look to moving your ETL process to the Cloud.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as big data, Cloud computing, social media, and business intelligence.
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