Driving Force: Cutting the Cost of Administration
Ripping and replacing a data warehouse is not a step you take lightly, but by late last year, fast-growing VoIP network service provider iBasis had hit a wall.
"We had two problems," says Paul Floyd, senior vice president of R&D, engineering and operations. "One was handling the scale of the data warehouse," which had far surpassed growth projections. "The second was pushing data into that warehouse," a task that was taking 18 hours or more.
The company decided it needed an entirely new architecture, and Mark Saponar, vice president of information systems, decided to look into data-warehousing appliances, which promise lower cost (relative to conventional technology) and easy deployment, serving as large, high-volume data marts and, increasingly, focused data warehouses.
The company settled on the combination of a 9 -TB Netezza device with Sunopsis's ETL software, DataConductor. Saponar declined to detail the investment, but the technology lived up its reputation for rapid deployment last March when it went into full production in a 12-week deployment.
Administrative savings have been equally compelling. For one thing, the Netezza appliance doesn't require the support of DBAs, which let iBasis redeploy two full-time employees. In addition, Sunopsis's software, which has a drag-and-drop interface for creating definitions, "doesn't require any technical expertise or special development," Saponar says. Training on the new systems totaled three hours on the DataConductor interfaces and one day for the Netezza device.
Although the old data warehouse was administered by three full-time employees--out of 27 IS employees in the United States--"our data-warehouse team now consists of one to two employees that we need once every three months, to do small changes for release verifications," Saponar says. "The majority of our work is in the BusinessObjects environment to pull information, rather than in managing Netezza or Sunopsis."