Enterprise Data Lakes: Key Tips for Ensuring Success 71

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The following article is a guest post.

Data lakes sound simple in concept: an organization simply pools data or information in their original format right into a new data system. This data system—the data lake—should have enough processing speed and have large enough storage capabilities so that the data can be accessed at any time, changed as needed, and then stored on the same system.

However, moving data from their original source onto an enterprise data lake is not without challenges.

For one, the initial on-boarding of huge volumes of data from multiple sources is not only a time-consuming task due to latency issues, it also presents a challenge in data management since raw data takes up more space.

Real-time data replication is also an important element in enterprise data lakes, especially in fields like finance, retail, communications, and logistics.

With all these factors in mind, here are some tips in building a successful data lake.

1. Determine Your Use Case.

Before building a data lake, an organization must first determine their use cases.

Sit down with your entire team and identify all the key users and support users—both human and automated systems, internal and external. Determine their roles and the requirements they need to fulfill these roles. Afterwards, set goals or define problems that the data will help achieve or solve.

The use case document will serve as a modeling technique to define the features needed in your data lake. A use case also makes it easier for all the stakeholders to appreciate the transition, as it can better illustrate the benefits of building a data lake for your business.

2. Data Governance.

Once you know what your priorities are, you now need to determine the architecture of the data lake and how its contents will be governed.

For example, there should be a framework on what kind of data should go into the lake, how they are going to be transferred into the lake, and the protection protocols that should be in place depending on the kind of data.

Another important aspect is metadata capture and management, especially if you don’t want your data lake to turn into a data swamp.

A data lake accepts any data, by default. But without a mechanism to maintain it, your data lake might become bogged down by little details with little value to your organization.

3. User Training and Engagement.

In order for a data lake to be effective, all of its users must have the technical skills to access, interpret, manipulate, transport, manage, and share the information contained within.

Specific skills—such as data management and data governance—may be limited to certain players. Otherwise, all stakeholders should be able to master the basics of using the data lake. It’s also critical to highlight not the data lake itself but the role it plays in business success, such as process optimization or data analytics.

If your organization already has an existing data management system, you would be well advised to integrate the data lake with the current environment instead of completely replacing it. Not only does integration prevent “damage” to the prevailing system, it may also help manage the learning curve and develop a better understanding of the data lake’s purpose.

4. Data Security Strategy.

Developing a security strategy is especially important if your data lake will be a shared platform among business units, or even between internal and external stakeholders. Data privacy and security are critical in things like sensitive personal information, business intelligence, and proprietary information.

You may have to develop specific sets of rules in data access and sharing, depending on the party’s security level clearance and key roles (defined in the use case). For example, some users may be able to access a data pool but not share it with others. This is important when you have multi-tenancy within the organization or if you serve multiple external audiences.

5. Disaster Recovery and Long-Term Plans.

Given how fluid data can be, it’s wise to have a disaster recovery plan should something go wrong. Depending on the different service level agreements (SLA) in place, you may need multiple recovery plans to support each SLA.

Organizations should also accept the fact that data lakes will continuously evolve. From becoming hybrids of data stores to being able to support real-time data processing, even the possibility of building private clouds.

Companies should have a plan on how to capture, store, manage, organize, analyze, and secure data as technology continuously changes.

Constructing a data lake is more than just pouring all the data you have into it. However, once you have a clearer picture of the issues involved and how to address them, it will be easier to build a successful data lake.

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What is Cryptocurrency and How Does it Work? 6

What is Cryptocurrency and How Does it Work?

Cryptocurrency is certainly one of the most exciting developments in either finance or technology this century—at least, that’s what you’ve probably been told. However, you might not be satisfied that you know enough about what cryptocurrency really is or how it works to start exploring the many opportunities it offers.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to become acquainted with the basics of cryptocurrency. You can get yourself off to an excellent start by checking out this article, which will put you in a position to begin investing in cryptocurrencies for yourself.

What is Cryptocurrency?

At the most basic level, cryptocurrency is simply money that exists exclusively in digital form. There are no physical bills or coins—just numbers representing sums.

That might not seem revolutionary to those of you who are used to the concept of internet banking, but cryptocurrency is more than just a form of money.

The key word here is “currency”—each crypto is a distinct currency in and of itself, akin to the dollar or the pound.

Cryptos are also unique in that the technology they are based on makes them extremely secure. Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology, which allows for the creation of a decentralized ledger in which to record transactions.

Instead of having all transaction records stored on a single server (or server bank), blockchain creates multiple copies of the ledger each time a new transaction occurs and distributes them to many individual devices linked to a global network.

As a result, it is effectively impossible to hack or fake transaction records that rely on blockchain technology, since they can always be verified by the copies.

Why are So Many People Investing in Cryptocurrencies?

Now that you know the answer to the question what is cryptocurrency, you probably want to know why so many people are excited about it.

The answer is simple: certain cryptocurrencies have risen dramatically over the past several years—sometimes literally overnight.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are two popular cryptocurrencies that have garnered significant media attention for exactly this reason. Ethereum notably saw a rise of 13,000% in just a year, creating unprecedented wealth for those lucky enough to be holding it at the time.

These success stories have inspired wave after wave of eager new investors, who take advantages of online currency conversion platforms like Uphold to create whole investment portfolios around different cryptocurrencies.

The Risks of Investing in Cryptocurrencies

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Before you run to change your savings into Bitcoin, you should be aware of the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. These risks stem from another crucial difference between cryptocurrency and many other assets: the value of cryptocurrency is based on nothing but the demand for it.

“Bitcoin has no underlying rate of return,” says Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard. “Bonds have an interest cupon, stocks have earnings and dividends. There is nothing to support Bitcoin except the hope that you will sell it to someone for more than you paid for it.”

Still, there’s plenty of reason to hope for that with the amount of attention cryptocurrencies are currently receiving. Just be advised that the cryptocurrency market can be as fickle as any of the investors in it.

Despite the risks, cryptocurrencies offer huge potential rewards to their early adopters. Use this guide answering what is cryptocurrency as a starting point to help you learn more about this exciting new technology, and make informed investment decisions that will support your future.

About The Author

Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto.