We’ve entered into the era of big data, which means that those business owners who aren’t constantly on the search for the latest data innovations are doubtlessly going to find themselves pushed out of the marketplace sooner rather than later. This doesn’t mean that all entrepreneurs know what they’re doing when it comes to making sound data decisions, though. Indeed, many entrepreneurs and established business owners know next to nothing about data but need to make important decisions about it, anyway.
For instance, does your business need a data lake? This question and related ones are plaguing many business owners, who will be pleased to find out that the answer is almost certainly yes.
Exploring data lakes
What is a data lake, anyway, and why are so many business owners suddenly obsessed about them? Data lakes are very similar to what their name implies – a massive data repository where a huge sum of information is stored so that it can later be manipulated for one reason or another. Data lakes are excellent for those companies which need to vacuum up and store huge sums of data long before they can actually analyze and process it to put it towards meaningful uses. In other words, if your business is constantly hoovering up information but is struggling to find a place to put it all, data lakes are probably for you.
Data lakes are growing in popularity partially because they’re becoming substantially cheaper to create and maintain. Obviously, businesses everywhere want to save as much money as possible, leading them to adopt data lakes en masse. Despite the allure of data lakes brought about by their affordability, though, it’s also imperative to understand that they’re also important and popular because they allow your business to store all of its structured and unstructured data in one centralized location where it’s easily accessible.
The differences between structured and unstructured data have historically made them hard to pair with one another, but data lakes change that entirely, rendering it not only possible but easy and convenient to store your unstructured and structured information in the same location. It’s thus easy to see why data lakes have taken off in the past few years, given that more companies than ever before are generating truly colossal sums of data which have to be stored somewhere if they’re going to be valuable later on down the line.
A helpful way to determine if it’s time to build your own data lake is to ask yourself if your business has created a resource-intensive way of collecting different types of data. If the answer is yes, data lakes are likely going to be more important to you than other forms of data storage and management.
Not all data lakes are equal
Despite the growing importance of data lakes, it’s crucial to understand that not all of them were created equally. If you rely on a lackluster data lake setup, your business could mitigate its future profitability. That’s why every business owner who wants to make a sound decision that won’t come back to haunt them should read up on the common data lake mistakes that thwart the commercial ambitions of countless companies. Poor planning is perhaps the worst and least forgivable mistake you can make, as it will ensure everything you do after establishing your data lake will likely be in vain due to a lack of foresight.
Besides democratizing your data and giving you schema flexibility, data lakes also ensure scalability when your business begins to reap in truly tremendous sums of information that would have been unmanageable just a few years ago. With digital devices everywhere, it’s becoming more important for “connected companies” with a huge web presence and large stores of consumer information to invest in data lakes. For those businesses who are collecting data but aren’t yet sure of how they’re going to deal with it, data lakes are particularly important, as you need to safely store that information out of harm’s way while still ensuring it remains accessible.
Does your business need a data lake? If you vacuum up information and need a centralized place to store it, a data lake is almost certainly a good investment to dedicate yourself towards.