Top 5 Traditional Data Warehousing Challenges

data warehousing challenges

Top 5 Traditional Data Warehousing Challenges

Ask anyone in the business world, and they will tell you – Everything is data-driven. All decisions, projections, etc., everything is backed by data. Probably that is why one has to provide more information now than ever before. Consequently, there have been distinct changes in storing and processing of data. 

A Data Warehouse

A data warehouse is sometimes also referred to as an enterprise data warehouse. It is nothing but a vast collection of data or information that an enterprise uses at different times for the purpose of decision-making and forecasting.

All data was maintained in physical paper files or what we call in hard copy form in the olden days. But, maintaining data in this form had its own challenges like:

  • It was time, money, and space-consuming.
  • There was always a threat of the data getting destroyed by fire or water.
  • It wasn’t easy to maintain the data in proper order at all times.
  • Getting hold of the required information quickly was also a challenge.

Thanks to modern technology, the hard copies were converted into digital files and moved on computers. It helped overcome all the problems of the old filing system. This change made the data more accessible and relevant.

A Traditional Data Warehouse

When we talk of a traditional data warehouse, it does not mean the time when hard copies of information were maintained. Instead, the traditional data warehouses consist of IT resources like servers and system software present on-premises. They use ETL or Extract, Transform, and Load to move the data from a given source to the target destination. In short, the abundance of digital data stored in the servers in the office premises is known as a traditional data warehouse.

As it is, a traditional data warehouse, too, has its complexities and challenges, about which we will talk in a minute. But, the limitations of the traditional system led to the emergence of cloud-based data warehouses, which is the modern and current manner of storing and processing data.

Top 5 Traditional Data Warehousing Challenges

We just spoke about the inherent limitations or shortcomings of the traditional data warehouse. This is what they are:

1. Expensive To Maintain – Reporting requirements change in accordance with the changes in data privacy laws and compliance demands. Both have to be met and that too, stringently. The problem with traditional data warehouses was that they were so rigid in the structure that any modifications meant a drastic increase in costs and timelines. This defeated the purpose of meeting real-time data requirements. Furthermore, old data warehouses run on SQL Server, Teradata, or Oracle. Although these are some of the best databases, yet they have high licensing costs and maintenance expenses. So the overall expense is on the higher side.

2. High Failure Rates – The traditional data warehouses had one major drawback. They had high failure rates. The failure rate was as high as 50% and sometimes even more. It meant you could rely on the results just half the time. What about the rest of the time? It indicates that only half the decisions would be data-driven. The other half was a stroke of luck. That is no way to conduct business today. If data does not back your insights, even your customers won’t trust you.

3. Rigid Architecture – Today, the foremost requirement of every business, big or small, is agility and scalability. The rigid or inflexible architecture of the traditional data warehouses makes it next to impossible to bring in changes rapidly. As a result, agility is hard to achieve, and scalability next to impossible. Parallel processing is almost unheard of. These problems arise because the architecture cannot be changed swiftly on-demand. Let us take an example. A small change in the data model can be done quickly on cloud-based data warehouses, but it can take anywhere from days to months in traditional data warehouses.

4. Slow Processing Power – The volume of data a company has to maintain these days is exponential and only increasing. The traditional data warehouses have outdated technology, lagging legacy systems, and redundant ETL methods. All this leads to slow processing times. As a result, the reports are significantly delayed, which makes the company lose its competitive edge.

5. Outdated Technology – Advancements in technology are made every day. The traditional data warehouse you set up for your business was, at best, done a couple of years back. So, you are already behind. It adds to the challenges listed above and also limits the storage capacity. Additionally, you will always have to face resource constraints. All this because technology is not up to the times.

The Alternate – Cloud Data Warehouses

The best alternative to a traditional data warehouse is a cloud data warehouse. It overcomes all the limitations of the traditional data warehouse and comes with power-packed features that you have not even thought about.

Cloud data warehouses can store tons of information. If you run out of cloud space, you buy more. It is your only repository of information that you can integrate and connect with your OLTP databases, SaaS, and Business Intelligence tools. Scalability is possible with just a few clicks, and real-time reporting has taken an all-new meaning. In short, Cloud data warehouses are fast, efficient, and agile. Now there is no stopping your business from achieving the heights of success. 


You must have already felt the pinch of using a traditional data warehouse. It clearly reflects how your business fares in comparison to the competition. You are doing everything they are, yet you are not getting the same results. There is no need to be disheartened, for change does seem like an added headache, but thankfully, in this case, it really isn’t so. 

Today, there are Cloud consulting companies to help you through the entire process of revamping and upgrading with minimal disruption of work. They will take over the task of migrating your traditional in-house database to a cloud data warehouse. All they will charge in turn is a small fee. In the long run, the time and hours of work you save are worth every penny you pay. If you have been put off against the idea of migrating to o Cloud because of the additional work it involves, it’s time to hire somebody to do it for you.