In today’s hypercompetitive business environment, business users rely on business intelligence (BI) and analytics more and more often to make decisions. However, to access the freshest data and to obtain the best insights, they often query production databases. This load on the system negatively impacts performance and creates usability issues, as people wait for long periods of time for system responses. The lines of business become frustrated because they can’t make critical decisions rapidly enough and the IT team is overburdened by performance bottlenecks that are hard to resolve.
Business and Technology Challenges
Creating a separate reporting database to support BI & analytics is a viable option, but only if users can access up-to-date data within it. Unfortunately, this approach breaks down when traditional ETL tools are used to feed information to the reporting database. Consider the following challenges:
- Identifying just the changed data is cumbersome. ETL products are optimized for transferring data in batches. Efforts to circumvent this design and identify only the data that has changed in the production database are unwieldy. Changes to the database, such as adding timestamps to flag data changes, are often necessary.
- Complex queries can affect system performance. In addition to database modifications, complex queries also may need to be written to identify changed data. These queries can negatively affect system performance, adding to the very problem that the reporting database is trying to solve.
- Even when data is sent to the reporting database, the changes aren’t sent in real-time. The time required to run queries, identify changed data, and then process that data with an ETL tool is time consuming. As a result, the reporting database does not contain the freshest data. Any BI and analytics activity will return insights that are out-of-date.
How Attunity Can Help
To support query offloading, change data capture (CDC) is a preferred approach. Tools like Attunity Replicate and Attunity CDC allow organizations to replicate the changes made to production database tables with low latency to a secondary reporting database. The impact on source databases is nearly non-existent, the effort required from IT is minimal, and business users enjoy access to the freshest possible information for BI and analytics and better decision- making overall.
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