Deploying Database Analytics on Amazon Web Services
In a world of increasing connectedness, through social media and the Internet of Things, there seems to be an ever growing pressure for businesses to adopt cloud environments and ITaaS mentalities. However, many are still skeptical about how the cloud can help their business and even what the cloud is in the first place. Don’t worry, cloud doesn’t mean that your data is hanging out in those puffy white collections of water vapor in the sky and rain doesn’t send your archived data down the storm drain.
At the most basic level, the cloud simply means that your data is transferred across the internet to be hosted at another site but set up in such a way that you have instant access to it should you wish to bring it up from any device connected to the internet. So why is this beneficial? First, the cloud saves you money that would be spent on paying for servers and storage devices, their maintenance contracts, cabling, cooling devices, server racks, physical space for your equipment, and an employee to physically walk through and monitor your datacenter. Instead, you pay one of several cloud providers a fee to make use of their hardware and datacenter space. Second, the cloud protects your data in case your physical datacenter is affected by a natural disaster, such as flooding or fire, by hosting your data safely away from the affected area.
Now that we know what the cloud actually is, let’s talk about a real example of how you can improve your business by utilizing Amazon Web Services to migrate and manage a SQL database with the cloud.
The first thing you’re probably asking yourself is how would that be better than doing an on-premise database migration. With a traditional database migration you have to deal with a complex, time-consuming process that requires downtime, during which no one can access your database, conversion and re-coding of data that adds to delays, and is subject to errors that can cause you to have to begin the process all over again. However, by utilizing Amazon Web Services Database Migration Service (DMS) you’re able to migrate your data faster and without dealing with downtime. Additionally, AWS DMS’ schema conversion tool automatically picks up the required code and format of the target database and reformats your data for you.
While replicating, you have have the option of replicating back to your original database or replicating out to one of Amazon’s global availability zones. These zones help you keep your data safely hosted away from your main location in the event of an IT disaster. Further, you can keep your data hosted at multiple sites within an availability zone so that even if you one of those locations is destroyed, your data is still protected.
If you’re still not convinced of the benefit of replicating your data to the AWS cloud, consider that while most database migrations are extremely costly, Amazon allows you to migrate starting at just $3/TB
But maybe you’re not ready to move your database entirely to a cloud model. Maybe you’re more interested in how the cloud can help you analyze and evaluate your existing data. Here you have a couple of options depending if you are looking for a better way to share data insights with your team or an alternative to expensive data warehousing and upgrade costs.
If you’re looking for a way to get more from your data and quickly share it with your team, you will benefit from Amazon Quicksight, a data visualization tool that can draw on your physical data that you upload to the cloud or on any data you have sitting in AWS’ other services. Quicksight gives your team the ability to quickly look up and compare this data, in order to make intelligent business decisions.
On the other hand, let’s say you want to run a data warehouse but you don’t have the time or the resources to build all the infrastructure, deal with months of setup, and hire the team of DBAs. Not to mention the dilemma of dealing with slow query performance or the additional costs of upgrading the technology when your business grows. By implementing Amazon Redshift, you gain access to a fully managed data warehouse that offers easy setup, flexibility, and scalability at a fraction of the cost of running a traditional data warehouse. To top it off, Redshift is compatible with all of the major query languages so there’s no need for you to learn a new language.
Finally, let’s say that you reach a point where you want to get fully implemented to the cloud and have everything you need at the click of a button. You’ve got your data hosted in the cloud and you’re replicating across Amazon’s multiple availability zones and you want to run all of your queries through AWS as well. Enter Amazon Athena, a cloud hosted, analytics as a service offering that lets you quickly search through your S3 data while only paying for the queries you run. Because Athena is run entirely serverless, there’s no need to build a data warehouse or run complex ETL jobs which means you get your results fast and can make informed decisions faster.
So now that you’ve seen how easy and efficient it is to analyze your data using Amazon Web Services, you just have to answer the question, are you ready to join the future of database analytics? Give us a call today and we’ll discuss how you can get started on your journey to the cloud.
Brian Anderson is a Public Sector Account Manager at Cima Solutions Group. His responsibilities include providing IT solutions to the Texas state agencies, municipalities and institutes of higher education as well as DIR contract management. He joined Cima in 2015 as a college graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelors of Arts in Music.
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