Designing a Big Data Warehouse on The Cloud

Designing a Big Data Warehouse on The Cloud

Table of Contents

In this article:

  • Cloud Data Warehouse Advantages
  • Operational Data Store, ETL, and Data Integration: More Benefits of the Cloud
  • Big Data on the Cloud: Scalability, Lower Cost, Functional

When you're thinking of options for your data pipeline, it is important to assess what is functional. It's not always necessary or optimal to use the latest technology just because it's available; for example, when it comes to monitoring, Prometheus may be newer but in many cases Graphite is the right choice for a monitoring tool.

There's also the choice between relational database management systems (RDBMS) which require well-defined schema ("schema on write") versus the file storage system Apache Hadoop, which requires no schema ("schema on read"). And of course, we have to consider which time-series database will work best with the monitoring stack.

At MetricFire, we host your time-series databases for you, so you don't need to worry about how to design a warehouse for your monitoring data. Your data storage will automatically scale as you grow, with three times redundancy in case anything happens. We also provide the monitoring, in an all-included package. You should sign up for our free trial here, and get started.

Cloud Data Warehouse Advantages

There are quite a few advantages to having a data warehouse on the cloud - notably the capacity to grow and change with your data, and to keep within your budget. However, there are some reasons why companies still keep on-premises monitoring setups, you can look into the details here.

Despite those reasons, it's becoming common wisdom that cloud data warehouses simply work better and cost less than on-site warehouse systems. Here are five specific ways that having a cloud solution is optimal for most organizations.

Scalability & Elasticity

Cloud instances can scale up immediately. It’s easy to upgrade dedicated data warehouse services such as Redshift. This is in contrast to scaling a data warehouse on-site, which typically involves a time-consuming process of buying and installing new hardware.

Unfortunately, this ease of scalability doesn't always apply to every cloud solution. For example, a traditional solution such as an Oracle database on the cloud may take more time to scale than an on-site data warehouse. While it’s relatively simple to set up a new instance on Oracle, transferring the data is potentially labor-intensive.

At MetricFire you can choose which provider you host your data on, and we'll set up your monitoring accordingly. Your data is always yours, and at any time you can migrate your data to another provider or to in-house.


Due to virtualization and less hardware maintenance, cloud data warehouse prices are much cheaper than their bare-bones options. With pay-as-you-go pricing models and great elasticity, you need only pay for actual instance usage rather than having machines working 24/7 and eating up electricity.

At MetricFire, you'll know exactly what part of your costs are coming from your data storage. You'll be able to adjust your storage accordingly to keep spending within budget.

Backup and Recovery

Cloud warehouses typically come with built in backup. As well, your data will be stored in diversified locations, which means it's less vulnerable to loss after a natural disaster like a flood or fire.

You may lose your on-site hardware in such an event, but all the information you need is held safely in the cloud. This is important for anyone who holds important data and would find a manual backup process to be time-consuming.

At MetricFire, we manage your redundancy so your data is always safe. All data is stored three times, to make sure nothing is lost.


The high level of security that comes with most cloud data warehouses helps organizations to safeguard sensitive data. All data must be kept secure, but those who collect health, financial or personal information want to make sure the data is safe. The standards of most cloud data warehouses keep the data protected.

If you're looking to maintain GDPR compliance, you'll have to keep your data hosted in the EU. You'll also have to look into how to send data to and from your cloud storage safely. For advice on interacting with your database securely, read this resource.

Choice Between DWaaS and Relational Database

There are a few ways to proceed when you're ready to establish a cloud data warehouse. One option is to use a data warehouse-as-a-Service (DWaaS) such as Amazon Redshift. Another option is to setup your own relational database on a virtual cloud instance services such as with Amazon EC2, IBM Cloud, or Rackspace. That means that even within the cloud ecosystem, there is flexibility to find the right setup for your business.

You can also keep more than one database - but the challenge with this is realized when you design your monitoring. Fortunately, MetricFire can integrate data from multiple data sources all in one dashboard. You don't have to choose just one option when working with MetricFire.

Operational Data Store, ETL, and Data Integration: More Benefits of the Cloud

Operational data stores, ETL, and data integration can enjoy the same benefits of high scalability, elasticity, and low costs on the cloud. When using Apache Hadoop, they can also run on top of Hadoop-as-a-Service solutions such as Amazon EMR.

Advantageous Data Storage

Instead of using local or virtual Hadoop instances to store data, you can use file storage services such as Amazon S3. They have better scalability, durability, and persistence than Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS), not to mention extremely low prices.

Tools such as Qlik Replicate™ can help transfer on-site data to the cloud. These days more and more data, from such sources as web logs or social data, is already stored on the cloud. Nonetheless many organizations have data from on-site or legacy systems that may need to make the shift to cloud storage.

Excellent Reporting Capability

There are a number of strong reporting products that help you fully utilize your cloud data warehouse. Azure Stream Analytics, Zoho Analytics, Domo, and IBM Cognos are a few. They operate seamlessly with your existing systems so you can not only transform and store your data, but have it ready for interpretation and analysis as you need.

Hosted Grafana by MetricFire can also help with this. Get your data displayed and make it actionable using Grafana dashboards directly in the MetricFire platform.

Big Data on the Cloud: Scalability, Lower Cost, Functional

Designing a cloud data warehouse for your big data can help to reduce costs while increasing scalability and elasticity. A wide array of solutions is available - from setting up your own virtual instances, to using hosted services. Data storage is extremely useful on the cloud, and you have a variety of options for reporting and transformation.

MetricFire helps you make the most out of your data. To learn how we can help, book a demo and talk with us directly. You can also sign on to the MetricFire free trial and start monitoring your metrics today.

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