What is a Data Lake?

What is a Data Lake?

A data lake is a centralised storage location, designed to hold a large amount of different types of data in its native, raw format. This gives organisations a way to organise large volumes of highly diverse data.

The structure of the data is not defined when data is captured. This means you can store all your organisations data without careful design or the need to know what questions you might need answers for in the future. This makes it flexible when compared to a data warehouse.

Compared to a data warehouse which stores data in files or folders, a data lake uses a different approach. It is designed to use a flat architecture to store the data.

A graph that shows the purpose of a data lake

Supporting All Your Data Types

A data lake holds big data from many sources in a raw, granular format. This can include non-relational data sources such as IoT, mobile data, websites and social media, alongside more traditional relational business data sources such as a CRM for example.

It can store structured, semi-structured, or unstructured data. This means data can be kept in a more flexible format so we can transform it when we are ready to use it.

Why do you need a data lake?

Organisations that successfully generate business value from their data will outperform their peers. A key advantage of a data lake is that it can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, depending on the organisation’s needs.

An Aberdeen survey saw organisations who implemented a Data Lake outperforming similar companies by 9% in organic growth. These leaders were able to do new types of analytics like machine learning over new sources like log files, data from click-streams, social media, and IoT devices stored in the data lake.

Due to the flexibility of this method of data storage, you can apply various types of analytics to your data, including:

  • SQL queries
  • Big Data analytics
  • Full-text search
  • Real-time analytics
  • Machine learning

This type of analysis helps organisations to identify, and act upon, opportunities for business growth faster. Analytics enables companies to attract and retain customers, boost productivity, and making informed decisions.

For help understanding your organisation’s data needs, our data experts are on hand to assist, no matter where you are in your digital transformation journey. Contact us today to discuss your needs.

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