Friday, June 29, 2007

WhereScape RED

WhereScape RED provides integrated DW life cycle management functionality for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and Teradata deployments. The company’s go-to-market approach includes direct sales to clients, OEM relationships with transactional application vendors, and a network of resellers and consulting partners in the geographic regions in which it operates. WhereScape also provides a freely down loadable working version of its software, which has been an effective method for allowing prospective clients to test-drive the software prior to production deployment,
by building fully-functional small-scale warehouses and marts with WhereScape RED
prior to purchase.

WhereScape RED is a meta data driven DW life cycle management environment. WhereScape RED includes 5 integrated components that support all stages of the DW life cycle process:

  • Source data extraction and loading facilities (native database connectivity, ODBC, XML, flat file)

  • WhereScape RED Applications: Administrator is a developer’s interface for creating repositories within the data warehouse and maintaining schedulers. Integrated development Environment (IDE) is a desktop interface for designing and managing the data warehouse. Scheduler is an optional interface that is used primarily by administrators for job status information.

  • Repository housed within the target DW, the RED Repository is a set of database tables that are installed in each target DW environment. Meta data tables can be accessed by business intelligence tools for query, reporting and analysis purposes. The data warehouse objects created by WhereScape RED are standard database objects such as tables, views, scripts, procedures and indexes. They are always specific to the details of the target database’s SQL or data manipulation dialect: scripts in Teradata can be Multi Load or Fast Load,
    procedures are PL/SQL in Oracle and Transact SQL in SQL Server. RED uses the database as the data transformation engine and also stores all meta data about the objects created in the target DW and about the dependent objects within the repository.

  • Scheduler polls meta data to identify tasks that can be run. It also manages the work flow of dependencies that may exist among jobs or groups of tasks. Tasks can run in the target database or on a separate scheduler platform and initiate loads or procedures specific to databases being used. The scheduler supports multi-platform scheduling and can be called from an existing enterprise scheduler.

  • Dependent Objects located outside the RED repository, dependent objects include OLAP cubes or exports for other downstream systems whose meta data is stored within the RED repository. The scheduler also manages these objects.

Addressing the DW Life cycle Management Process with WhereScape RED

WhereScape RED provides support for all steps of a DW life cycle. It supports both the developers and business users in their collaborative efforts from the definition stage to deployment stage through a series of iterative steps and feedback loops.

Some of the key strengths of the WhereScape RED software include:

Rapid Prototyping
WhereScape itself describes its software as enabling developers to "fail fast and fail early." With WhereScape RED, developers can create prototypes of candidate production schema, populate it immediately with source data (familiar to business users), and adjust the schema in response to business users’ feedback as needed during joint design-prototype-iterate sessions . all within days and in some cases hours. This practices allows business users to see, in real time, the translation of their requests into working data warehouses and/or data marts, and helps BI/DW
practitioners make appropriate accommodations while they themselves get comfortable, incrementally, with those accommodations.

Self-documentation was highlighted as one of the key features of WhereScape RED during interviews with WhereScape customers. Within RED, meta data is created automatically while an architect interacts with the RED desktop interface during the various stages of the data warehousing process. Meta data and other documentation can also be edited or added manually on an as needed basis.

Single Source for Metadata
WhereScape RED stores meta data not only about source systems and the data warehouse objects, but also about the external dependent objects such as OLAP cubes as well as ETL routines. Having a single source for all meta data related to the various steps in DW life cycle management enables administrators, architects and developers to manage and access this meta data more efficiently than if it was distributed in individual repositories of the component tools.

Users of WhereScape RED can also reuse existing tables designed with third party DW modeling tools. In this case the software automatically recognizes that RED was not used as the design tool and retrofits existing DW tables into the RED Repository. This process has been identified as a considerable time saver at organizations, that for various reasons, may chose to work with another modeling tool. This is an example of WhereScape ensuring its product’s compatibility with existing data warehousing tools and environments.

I was given a demo of this product by WhereScape which I called then a framework to build Data Warehouse Application based on industry best practices. I was literally blown away by it. Kind of the same way when I saw Siebel Analytics SRMW model for the first time. The only way I will work on a stand alone implementation of Oracle BI EE would be if client agrees on purchasing this amazing product. Otherwise, they better buy Oracle BI Application since I do not build Data Warehouse from the ground up. Why reinvent the wheel and add unnecessary risk to project which success rate still below 50% when there are product such as this one and Oracle BI Applications in the market?

I recommend everyone to go for a free demo of this amazing product.

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