The Data Warehouse, the first 15 years

It was 15 years ago today I started up the Data Warehouse, and it has been in style ever since. In its first years it was not much more than some PHP basic scripts  and a MySQL database. But the success of the Data Warehouse and the steep growth of data imports, made it necessary to restructure the data flow in the Data Warehouse.
2004 I decided a more formal approach was needed. I wanted to build a workflow engine (a job scheduler) and a supporting language. The new version of the Data Warehouse was ready for production 2006. The following years some features were added.
From 2009 very little if any development has been done. Still the Data Warehouse is alive and kicking remarkably well. There have been attempts to replace it with mainstream products on the market. These attempts have failed, mainly due to excessive complexity and slowness of those products.

When I started 2000 I could not get funds for Business Intelligence activities at all in the company. I had to use scrapped PCs for servers and do coding myself and use free software. Much have happened since then, today BI activities are allowed to cost, management have realised the value of good BI and today the big guys are prepared to spend millions on financial analytics.
Unfortunately you cannot say the same for what I call operational analytics, i.e. what goes on in the factories purchasing, logistics and production. But the workshop guys at the company do not care much, they already have my low cost Data Warehouse. I was told some months ago, in one of the major factories the ERP system is used for registering only, all planning etc are done in the Data Warehouse + some surrounding apps. The reason for the increased use of the Data Warehouse is speed and costs! I’m told development of extra features in standard ERP systems, take forever and the cost is ridicules high.
Fifteen years is not much for an IT system and I expect the Data Warehouse will celebrate 20 years five years from now. What’s more remarkable about the Data Warehouse, it is barely maintained at all the last five to seven years, still it cracks on, now with a new BI crew. Take any of the standard BI system on the market five to seven years ago. Would you like to run any of those with a new almost untrained crew? I wouldn’t.
Of course I’m not happy about all things in the Data Warehouse, but it is a well designed, stable and balanced Data Warehouse. ‘World class’ a senior consultant Business Analyst once told me, ‘it beats everything I worked with’. All in all I’m very happy with the Data Warehouse.

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