Technology | Databases

Analytic Databases – What are they and why do we use them?

Words by Alex Matheson
Analytic Databases – What are they and why do we use them?

Earlier this week we talked about Druid Databases. We discussed their merits, particular use cases and how we make use of them here at Atlas. Today, we’d like to take a step back and discuss analytic, or analytical, databases in a broader sense.

As we’ve mentioned before, databases come in all shapes and sizes and fit many purposes. From a broad perspective, all databases offer a means to store and retrieve data. Beyond that, they’ve grown in complexity and variety and continue to develop today.

Data storage really began with Charles Bachman who created the Integrated Data Store (IDS) for General Electric. By today’s standards it would seem crude and inflexible, for example it only worked with GE frameworks. But, it was the first step towards the databases we use today.

Over the years, database technology has become capable of storing more data, developed flexibility and compatibility with multiple systems, and it fills specific niches and solves specific problems.

What is an analytic database?

An analytic database fills a very specific role; it is designed to ingest, process and analyse historical data on business metrics such as inventory levels and sales performance. This makes them perfect for enabling business intelligence and analytics applications.

With the wide range and large volume of data that needs to be collected and stored, analytic databases tend to be on the larger end of the spectrum. In fact, it’s their potential size that makes them as useful as they are. With more data, more data led decisions can be made.

Why use an analytic database?

Analytic databases allow business analysts, company executives and other parties to make data led predictions and decisions. By running reports against the data held in analytic databases they can form an image based on historical reality as to the performance and potential future of a business.

Ideally, the data within an analytic database should be updated constantly with new transactional information passed from a business’ operational systems. With transactional data that doesn’t leave any gaps, which runs from a desired point in the past right up to the minute, trends can be tracked, predictions made and decisions decided upon.

How do we use analytic databases?

At Atlas, we believe in data. Our software is built to enable data led decisions for anyone who uses it. We use analytic databases to provide our customers with comprehensive, adaptable and impactful systems powered by Atlas Boost.

With advanced APIs, machine learning and AI, we can enable the capture of large amounts of data from diverse sources. We then use analytic databases to ingest, process and analyse that information.

From there we can provide dashboards and intelligent reports to the end user, which are easily digestible and infinitely adaptable. By turning all the data a company produces and collects into tangible insight, we can help businesses move forwards confidently in new and exciting directions.

So, how is your data looking? If it’s a little chaotic, perhaps it’s time to adopt the right technology to turn that chaos into order.