A data warehouse can be explained as a central repository of all significant data and parts of data that an in an organization or enterprise or in this case a healthcare organization. The process of building and managing a Data warehouse emphasizes the capture of data from diverse sources for useful analysis and access. That’s why there are some basic principles of a data warehouse that organizations are guided by. These principles are useful and necessary because data capturing and warehousing does not necessarily start from the end user or the end user’s point of view.

Generally speaking, there are two approaches to data warehousing, this is the top down approach or the bottom up approach. The top down approach creates data groups from the data warehouse for specific groups of users after the data warehouse has been created while the bottom up approach build the data warehouses first and then combines them into single, complete and all-encompassing data warehouses. These two approaches bear similarity to the late-binding vs early-binding approaches.

A typical data warehouse is housed in an enterprise Mainframe Server however, data warehouses are increasingly being housed in the Cloud as the Cloud becomes more and more popular. As businesses and healthcare organizations use data for exploration and mining purposes and constantly seek patterns of information that will help them improve their processes. Part of the search for improvement is looking for more efficient ways to store and mine data and one of those ways is the Cloud. So what is the Cloud?

Cloud Storage

A Cloud storage is a simple and arguably scalable way to store, access, and share data over the internet. Technically, it is a service model in which data is maintained, managed, and backed up remotely and made available to users over a network. This network is typically the internet. There are many Cloud service companies and Cloud storage providers like Google, Amazon web services, Dropbox, and a bunch of B2B Cloud service providers. These providers maintain a network base of connected hardware and software of which they use to provide their services. Users have to pay for Cloud storage (i.e space on the Cloud) and usually, they are charged either monthly or per consumption rate.

Using Cloud storage eliminates rather cumbersome and expensive step for organizations. They don’t have to deal with the problems and management costs of buying and maintaining a storage facility, hardware or infrastructure. With a Cloud, there is increased agility and global access without location or time constraints.

Another advantage of using Cloud storage is that it saves time. When development teams are ready to execute a plan using the data warehouse, Cloud storage allows data analysts to quickly access the amount of storage needed. They don’t have to scramble to purchase or build new hardware as they can just access any space they need directly. This allows data analysts to focus on solving complex problems instead of worrying about storage issues. Cloud storage also enables better information management. When storage is centralized it creates leverage for flexibility and control of access to information. This is especially important in larger organizations that have different clearance levels and management levels.

In sighting these advantages and uses of Cloud storage, it is important to note that there are however some setbacks to using the Cloud for storage such as the problem of security. Due to the fluidity and centralized access by all users of the Cloud, security could be easily breached if not handled properly. For this reason, storage providers build security capabilities such as encryption and authentication into their service packages.

Now irrespective of if a healthcare organizations choose to use their own mainframe server or the Cloud for their data warehousing needs, there are basic principles that should be followed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.