Monitoring the Performance of your Data Warehouse

How do you know if your data warehouse is performing well? Unless you’re monitoring it, you don’t. Regularly reviewing your data warehouse is a crucial step in assuring that its performance remains consistently high.

We’ll explore why an in-depth understanding of how your data warehouse is functioning is so essential and how to do it. Read on to learn more.

What Is Data Warehouse Monitoring?

Data warehouse monitoring helps you understand how your data warehouse is performing. If performance is slow, you'll want to know why.

Here are some of the things to take note of when gauging the performance of your data warehouse:

  • Data usage
  • Number of users
  • Response times — How long does the data warehouse take to answer a query?
  • Activities — What kinds of workloads are running?
  • When workloads are running

Why Does Data Warehouse Monitoring Matter?

There's several reasons - here's the top five:

  1. It ensures top performance
  2. It ensures excellent usability
  3. It ensures the business can run efficiently
  4. It prevents security issues
  5. It ensures governance and compliance

Let's go through these points in more detail.

Ensuring Top Performance

The biggest and most obvious benefit is to ensure top data warehouse performance in a few key areas:

  • Responses to queries are received in a timely fashion
  • Workloads run quickly, so users can get their work done faster
  • Performance remains optimal, even as you scale the data warehouse up

Regular observation means you'll quickly become aware of any issues that may arise and be able to deal with them proactively, rather than having to jump to respond after a problem has become apparent.

Ensuring Excellent Usability

The modern data warehouse isn't just a place to store data. The true value comes from analysing that data to convert to meaningful information for your business.

When performance issues arise (for example, if the data warehouse is working slowly), you’ll see a decrease in usability, too. Data analysis slows - or stops completely - which creates significant problems for line-of-business decision makers as well as the IT department, who will have to find out what's happening and fix it.

Regular checking ensures optimal performance by dealing with issues before they start to negatively affect usability.

Enabling the Business to Run Efficiently

Efficiency is directly related to usability. A data warehouse that's readily accessible leads to a more efficient company.

Line-of-business users regularly run queries to help them make better business decisions, with outcomes directly impacting their work. For example, they might be searching for historical sales data to build projections, or may need to understand past trends in order to make better decisions in the future. The longer it takes to extract this information, the longer it takes to make decisions, which may end up putting the company at risk of missing out on critical or highly valuable opportunities.

Constant monitoring gives administrators the visibility to spot potential issues before impairment to efficiency can arise, keeping the company agile and able to seize new opportunities as they appear.

Preventing Security Issues

Performance and security are closely linked. A security incident, no matter how minor, affects how the data warehouse functions.

Let’s say your data warehouse falls prey to a distributed denial-of-service attack, in which a hacker programs many bots to flood the data warehouse with requests so that it can’t function. Your employees won’t be able to use it until you can fix the problem. Monitoring for security can prevent these attacks.

Ensuring Governance and Compliance

Governance is about putting the right policies and procedures in place to make sure the data warehouse functions properly, while compliance ensures it operates within whatever legal or industrial frameworks exist.

Monitoring performance is part of good governance—it guarantees the data warehouse works the way it’s supposed to. Compliance is also connected to performance because your data warehouse might have to meet certain legal requirements. Regular monitoring keeps administrators aware of these issues so they can quickly mitigate them as they arise.

How Do You Monitor the Modern Data Warehouse?

With all that in mind, how do you actually monitor the modern data warehouse?

You need a tool that integrates seamlessly into your data warehouse and provides in-depth insights that will help you act quickly to deal with issues before they become more serious.

Azure Monitor: Effectively Monitor Your Data Warehouse

Azure Monitor is Microsoft's solution for monitoring the modern data warehouse, delivering three key benefits to organisations wanting to secure and extract optimum value from their data:

  • Base-level metrics and logs
  • The ability to discover, configure, and on-board new Azure Monitor features
  • The ability to view important monitoring events across a subscription

Base Level Metrics and Logs

These tell you what’s going on at the most basic level of your infrastructure.

The ability to access both the metrics and the logs shows you how your data warehouse is performing, and if any issues are preventing it from operating at peak efficiency.

Discover, Configure, and On-board New Features

With Azure Monitor, you receive a landing page that helps you understand the capabilities Azure offers.

The landing page is a starting point for on-boarding premium capabilities. It shows curated notable issues from various Azure services, so that you can navigate them with the right context.

Viewing Important Monitoring Events across a Subscription

Azure Monitor shows you the following items and/or events across the components of your subscription:

  • Triggered alerts and alert sources
  • Activity log errors
  • Azure Service Health data and alerts
  • Application Insights KPIs

Being able to see important events across your Azure subscription means that you can fix performance problems before they start, and prevent them from affecting your company.

Enlighten Designs: Helping You Get More from Your Modern Data Warehouse

Enlighten Designs has been delivering amazing digital experiences to customers since 1998. We’re a proud Microsoft partner, having achieved Gold status in Data Platforms and Analytics. To accelerate your journey towards fully utilising your modern data warehouse to power your business, register now for one of our FREE Analytics in a Day workshops.

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