The business environment has become increasingly data-driven. Organizations can use data to draw conclusions, predict trends, support a commercial proposal, and simply give themselves a competitive edge against their competitors.
In order to do this, however, they must have a convenient way to collect, store, and analyze their data. Data lakes are one form of data storage repository that can provide just this, and Azure Data Lake is an excellent example of such a platform.
We’re going to take a look at data lakes, the benefits of using them, and five key facts that you should know about Azure Data Lake if you’re considering its use.
What is a Data Lake?
A data lake is a repository for large volumes of data, both structured and unstructured. Data is held in a data lake in its raw format.
Data lakes differ from data warehouses in that flat architecture and object storage is used to store the data, as opposed to the file and folder system used by most data warehouses.
Object storage makes use of unique identifiers and metadata tags in order to ensure that data is easy to locate and retrieve.
What are the Benefits to Using a Data Lake?
Data lakes provide several notable benefits to those using them to store their data, as shown by the continued market growth of data lake solutions and data lake services.
No Data Silos
A data lake allows you seamless access to all the data stored within. This allows for easier analysis to be carried out across larger data samples, enabling more accurate insights and more meaningful innovation.
The advent of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) is aided through the use of data lakes. Multiple data sets can be combined to allow for better training and deployment of machine learning models.
Store Data in Any Format
Data can be stored in data lakes in any format. This eliminates the need for data modeling, as data can be stored without any transformation. This saves time, meaning that more focus can be given to other important tasks, such as market research and usability testing.
What is Azure Data Lake?
Azure Data Lake is a series of cloud-based data services provided by Microsoft Azure. It allows users to store, manage, and analyze a wide array of data types. Developers, data scientists, and data analysts can undertake data processing, and perform analytics across a variety of platforms and languages.
5 Things You Need to Know About Azure Data Lake
Here are 5 key things that you need to know about Azure Data Lake.
Azure Data Lake is incredibly flexible and versatile. The pay-as-you-go pricing model means that there are no long-term contracts to get locked in to. Users can pay on a monthly basis, so you only need to pay for Azure Data Lake as long as you need it.
The cost of Azure Data Lake is actually lower than many traditional cloud storage services, meaning it provides a cost-effective storage option for organizations with large amounts of data to store. The price performance of Azure Data Lake is much better than many of its direct competitors.
As your business grows, Azure Data Lake can scale alongside it, ensuring you always have the amount of storage you need.
Storage of data in Azure Data Lake is handled by Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS). This is a repository that allows for the storage of massive amounts of data, with an unlimited volume.
ADLS supports WebHDFS, meaning that it is compatible with the Hadoop File System (HDFS). HDFS features strong security and allows for hierarchical data storage, so its compatibility is a big plus.
You can make use of Blob storage (binary large object storage) with ADLS, which gives access to features such as data tiering, lifecycle policies, and encryption at rest.
Azure Data Lake is well regarded for being able to integrate with a wide range of technologies, using REST-based APIs. Native integration is also available with other programs in the Azure suite, such as SQL Database, Functions, Data Factory, Synapse Analytics, and Power BI.
These integrations help to facilitate smooth operations during data capture, preparation, processing, and analysis.
Security should be a major point of consideration when choosing any data storage platform. There are many strict data regulations to abide by, and customers expect their data to be handled safely and securely.
Data breaches can occur through any number of gaps in security, from file transfers such as PDF sharing to phishing or data exfiltration. Organizations, therefore, need to invest in data storage solutions that offer sophisticated security features.
Azure Data Lake provides just that, using sophisticated technology to provide enterprise-grade security. Authentication and identity management help to control who has access to stored data. Network isolation enables organizations to establish firewalls and define the IP addresses of trusted clients.
Users can choose to encrypt data as they wish, during storage and during transmission. Finally, diagnostic and activity logs allow for account management activities to be logged and reviewed.
Azure Data Lake features built-in data governance features, through integration with the Azure Active Directory (AD). This allows for the utilization of intelligent policies, such as Conditional Access. Azure AD also enables multi-factor authentication, which helps to safeguard against cyberattacks and other malicious threats.
Azure Data Lake Analytics can easily connect to ADLS, and utilize the data stored within. This allows for easy and rapid analytics to take place. This analytics service can be scaled easily to the needs of the user.
Azure Data Lake Analytics uses U-SQL to perform analytical tasks. U-SQL is a combination of C# and SQL. With the Azure Data Lake platform, .NET developers can process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
The accuracy and usability of analytic coding can be easily tested in Azure Data Lake using regression testing or similar methods.
Azure Data Lake – The Perfect Data Storage Solution?
Azure Data Lake is a user-friendly data storage solution, which has been utilized by many organizations in this highly data-driven culture.
Its scalability and pay-as-you-go pricing models make it an excellent choice for small and large businesses alike. Regardless of how much data an organization has to store, Azure Data Lake has the capacity to safely store it, and help to draw value from it.
As Big Data technology continues to grow in prevalence, Azure Data Lake can provide organizations with a competitive edge thanks to its analytic capabilities, low cost, numerous integrations, and powerful security.
About the Writer
Emily Rollwitz is a Content Marketing Executive at Global App Testing, a test automation company helping top app teams deliver high-quality software anywhere in the world. She has 5 years of experience as a marketer, spearheading lead generation campaigns and events that propel top-notch brand performance. Handling marketing of various brands, Emily has also developed a great pulse in creating fresh and engaging content. She’s written for great websites like Airdroid and SME News. You can find her on LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.