CData Acquires Data Virtuality, Modernizing Enterprise Data Virtualization

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Navigating the Complexity of Data Management: A Comparative Analysis of Data Lake Engines and Data Virtualization

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Consider a scenario where your enterprise grapples with an immense volume of data from a variety of sources, residing on diverse platforms. You are weaving your way through a maze of structured and unstructured data, attempting to glean value and maintain a competitive advantage. This scenario is not unique to your enterprise – it’s a common challenge faced by many businesses in today’s data-centric world. The good news is that the data ecosystem is in a state of continual evolution, and gaining a deep understanding of this evolution is the key to successful navigation.

The Data Management Dilemma

A recent Forrester survey involving 3,627 decision-makers in data analytics highlighted the following predicament: over 25% of an organization’s data is duplicated today, leading to inconsistencies in reports across departments. When combined with an increasing demand for real-time data applications and insights, these factors coalesce to form a complex web of data management challenges.

Historically, data virtualization solutions have been marketed as the answer to these dilemmas – a promise to break data silos and integrate data from diverse sources, all in real-time. However, we’ve witnessed an intriguing shift in recent years: data lake engines, equipped with virtualization capabilities, have entered the data virtualization market. These engines, including Dremio, Starburst, and Trino, have started incorporating features that were once exclusively tied to data virtualization. This shift has led to a progressively blurred distinction between these innovative data lake engines and data virtualization providers. While this convergence represents rapid technological progression, it’s also creating a certain degree of confusion among users.

In addition to data lake engines, there are solutions that have recognized the limitations of data virtualization solutions, such as performance bottlenecks, a lack of data historization, and transformation. To address these issues, they’ve expanded their data virtualization offerings to incorporate a Data OS approach. These solutions prioritize enabling use cases over providing technologies. The overlap in terminology and messaging used by both data lake engines and these advanced solutions contributes to the confusion, making it increasingly difficult for users to distinguish the differences. Therefore, it’s crucial to delve deeper and understand the distinct differences between these emerging data lake engines and the solutions evolving from traditional data virtualization.

Exploring the Origins

Query Acceleration and Data Virtualization serve different yet complementary roles in the data management landscape. They both aim to make data more accessible and usable, but they approach this goal from different angles.

Data Lake Engines: Improving performance of data processing through Query Acceleration

Query Acceleration is primarily concerned with improving the performance of data processing. It employs various techniques to speed up the data retrieval process from big data systems, such as data lakes and complex data warehouses. Query Acceleration is generally applied in situations where there are massive amounts of data stored across diverse platforms, and quick, efficient access to this data is required.

Key features of Query Acceleration include:

  • Performance: Query accelerators use a variety of strategies, such as caching, indexing, and parallel processing, to speed up data retrieval
  • Adaptability: They can work with different data sources and types, such as structured and unstructured data
  • Real-time Access: By speeding up data processing, query accelerators can support real-time or near real-time data analytics

While some query accelerators include the capability to delegate queries to connected data sources, they do not offer data integration capabilities.

Data Virtualization: Providing a Unified View of Data to End Users

On the other hand, Data Virtualization is more about integrating data from disparate sources and providing a unified, consistent view of the data to the end users. This means users can access and analyze data from multiple sources as if it were in a single location, without needing to know where the data is physically stored or how it’s formatted.

Key features of Data Virtualization include:

  • Simplification: Data virtualization integrates data with different structures, providing users with a simple, unified view of data
  • Agility: With data virtualization, users can quickly adapt to changes in data sources or business requirements without needing to change the physical data layer
  • Real-time Integration: Data virtualization allows for the integration of data from various sources in real-time, enabling up-to-date insights

Data Lake Engines incorporating data virtualization

Emerging from the query acceleration sphere, data lake engines have taken note of this trend and started to incorporate some of these data virtualization features. This incorporation is not only shifting the market dynamics but also redefining the approach to data management in businesses. These engines are pushing the boundaries of technology and blurring the distinctions between traditional data virtualization providers and data lake engines, creating an intriguing landscape in the field of data management. It’s within this evolving context that users must chart their course, recognizing the strengths and limitations of each approach to make informed decisions.

Role of Data OS in the Evolving Landscape

In light of growing complexity and an expanding user base over the past decades, it’s more crucial than ever to embrace this philosophy of data integration and management as part of an operating system, rather than merely middleware or platform. Drawing inspiration from the concept of an operating system, a Data OS adopts similar principles by providing a user-friendly experience. It focuses on several key aspects:

  • Flexible and scalable data integration: Data OS incorporates multiple integration styles in a single platform, including data virtualization, ETL/ELT, streaming, and CDC, to allow the most efficient solution to enable different use cases
  • Effortless data access: It offers a unified point of access for both technical and non-technical users, ensuring that all stakeholders can efficiently access and utilize data
  • Universal language: Data OS introduces a single language for data querying and manipulation, streamlining the data integration process and reducing the specialist bottleneck and learning curve for users
  • Adapting to a cloud-centric landscape: It provides different deployment options: SaaS, self-hosted in the cloud, hybrid, and on-premises

By emphasizing these aspects, it aspires to offer a trusted solution for organizations seeking to benefit from more holistic data integration and management practices.

Data OS vs Data Lake Engines

Navigating the data integration and management solution market can be complex due to similar marketing messages from various technology vendors. When comparing Data OS with data lake engines, one must understand their fundamentally distinct perspectives and focal points.

Data OS primarily focuses on the integration of data from a multitude of disparate sources, rendering them accessible and usable, irrespective of the storage system. These data integration features include critical operations such as data movement, data replication, change data capture (CDC), and extract-transform-load (ETL) capabilities.

On the other hand, vendors of data lake engines concentrate on enhancing data querying and retrieval speeds. Their focus is primarily on optimizing data access and retrieval in data lake environments. Some data lake engines even have the capability to delegate queries to connected data sources. However, despite their ability to connect to external data sources, they lack the comprehensive functionality to integrate the data from these sources, since they do not possess the data integration features mentioned above.

The absence of such features necessitates the maintenance of additional tools, which can lead to several challenges:

  • Increased software costs due to the requirement of maintaining multiple tools.
  • Additional burden of software maintenance due to the increased number of tools.
  • Disruptions in the architecture, causing incomplete data lineage that requires manual maintenance.
  • Lower productivity levels as users need to familiarize themselves with different sets of tools.

In light of these points, organizations should meticulously assess their specific needs and use cases when deciding between these distinct solutions. The choice between integration (as offered by Data OS) and connection (as provided by data lake engines) is not trivial and warrants careful consideration.

Deciphering the Data Management Maze: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Business

In the ever-evolving data management landscape, businesses face the task of navigating diverse data sources, replication, and integration. The advent of data lake engines and the evolution of Data OS provide promising solutions to these challenges. Yet, their overlapping features and marketing strategies can confuse users. To choose wisely, organizations must consider their unique needs – from real-time data analytics to seamless data integration. Although data lake engines excel in data retrieval speeds, they don’t match the comprehensive integration capabilities of Data OS. In this data-driven era, selecting the right solution depends on each organization’s specific goals and readiness to embrace new technology for efficient data management.

Data OS in action

Like a Data OS, Data Virtuality eases data access and usability by abstracting away technical complexity. Born from first-hand experience, our solutions provide a comprehensive and integrative approach that empowers users and enables a diverse range of use cases.

The Data Virtuality Platform is trusted by businesses around the world, such as PGGM or Crédit Agricole, who use it to lower the costs associated with their data integration initiatives, increase the productivity of data teams and reduce time-to-market.

Start a free 30 day trial and discover how easy it is to use. Instant set-up. No credit card needed. For a more personalized experience, tailored to your unique use cases, book a demo with one of our friendly and knowledgeable data integration experts.

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