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Modern Data Architecture: The Data Lake

Modern Data ArchitectureToday, one of the hottest topics out there is “big data.”  It seems that everybody is talking about it and more and more companies are throwing their hat into the big data ring.  These are exciting times because there is a fundamental shift in how we think about data.  Not that long ago, structured data reigned supreme.  For data architects, the methods of handling data (transactional and dimensional) were based in sound theory thanks to E.F. Codd (Relational Modeling), Bill Inmon (Top Down 3NF Design), Ralph Kimball (Dimensional Modeling) and Daniel Linstedt (Data Vault Architecture).  We are now living in the post-relational world where the majority of the data (estimates have it at 80%) being generated is either semi-structured, quasi-structured or unstructured (1).  Further, this data is growing at a rapid rate.  As of 2012 ,digital content is being created at a rate of 2.5 quintilion ( 1 with 18 trailing zeros) bytes of data each day!(2)  Moreover, between 2009 and 2020 we can expect to see a 44 fold increase in all digital content. Of this data only 5% will be classified as structured (3).  So, with all those impressive stats, the question staring us in the face is this: ” How do we manage this deluge of unstructured data and how do we get it to play nice with structured data?”  Enter the Data Lake!

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