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What’s the difference between a data warehouse and a data lake?

Picture of Marijn Buizer

Marijn Buizer

Managing Partner Nucleus BI

Het verschil tussen een data lake en een datawarehouse

Unnoticed, most companies work with more data than they actually realize. Up to a certain point, this works well, but as your company grows, so does your data, and likely also the number of sources generating this data.

From data about your website visitors, your sales dashboard, your customer service, all of them provide information about a part of your company. But how do you ensure that you can see all this information in relation to each other, but also that this data is stored in the right place?

In processing and storing data, Data lakes, Data warehouses, or a combination of both are used. The terms are often used interchangeably but are different in application, depending on the data and the purpose of storage and processing.

What is a Data warehouse?

A data warehouse is a central place where the data that comes from different sources is linked by, for example, creating a connector between an application and the data warehouse. This data is structured and cleaned up so that data from different sources corresponds to each other and can be brought into relation to each other. This is an ideal basis for creating analyses and reports, which you can make visual in a dashboard.

Standard tools for a data warehouse are AWS Redshift, Google BigQuery, and Snowflake.

What is a Data Lake?

A data lake is designed to store data that does not have a specific structure or schema, usually in large quantities. Think, for example, of log files and data from social media channels. Exciting information from this raw data can then be structured and loaded into a data warehouse for analysis or dashboards. In addition, the raw data can sometimes be used for machine learning or predictive models. These can draw more information from the data lake than from a data warehouse where the data is already filtered and structured.

Standard tools for a data lake are AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage, and Azure Data Lake Storage.

What are the main differences between a data warehouse and a data lake?

Where a data warehouse is all about structure and storing data to do something with that data, such as analysing and reporting, a data lake is much more focused on keeping large amounts of raw data. It is not uncommon to use both in your company. Think of storing data first in a data lake, after which the data is moved to a data warehouse for analysis and connection with dashboards.

NucleusBI helps companies grow by creating insights into their data. We build the links between data sources, data lakes, and data warehouses and ensure you can ultimately make decisions based on the correct data via your dashboard. We process data according to the guidelines of the ISO 27001 standard, so you can assume that your data is secure.

Do you want to know how we can help you grow your business, save time and energy, and get more returns from your team? Then contact one of our BI specialists!

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