As the need for real-time analytics continues to grow, so too do the operational costs associated with it. This has many business leaders asking the question: Is real-time analytics worth the cost? In this blog, we will break down the biggest cost factors behind real-time analytics and discuss whether it is worth it for your business.
Is Real-Time Analytics Right for Me?
Real-time analytics can be tremendously powerful, but its implementation should always be driven by need. To assess if it's beneficial for your specific scenario, you should start by asking yourself the following three questions:
How fast is data being generated and at what frequency?
How quickly can I make decisions based on this data?
Does my business model or strategy benefit from real-time insights?
Answering these questions will help you discern whether the benefits of real-time analytics align with your business needs. If your answers suggest that you're generating data quickly, that you'll be acting on it quickly, and that there's a clear line to business value, you're a great candidate for real-time analytics.
On the other hand, your answers to these question may not be so clear. In that case, you'll want to do a little more research. We recommend you check out our full blog dedicated to this topic here.
The Hidden Cost of Real-Time Analytics
You've established that real-time analytics is for you, but what about its costs? Implementing real-time analytics undeniably requires a significant commitment to strengthening your technological infrastructure. This often entails investment in new technologies and comprehensive staff training - costs that are often anticipated.
However, these financial outlays merely skim the surface of the true cost of real-time analytics. Delving deeper into the data processing pipelines, hidden costs begin to surface, especially when we consider operations such as JOIN, a function that amalgamates tables in relational databases.
JOIN operations are computationally intensive. In fact, they are so demanding that very few real-time OLAP databases can execute these operations on-the-fly efficiently. To circumvent this issue, many data practitioners resort to denormalization: a workaround that pre-joins tables into one large table during data preprocessing.
While denormalization successfully addresses the speed constraints of JOIN operations, it's far from a panacea. This technique rigidifies the data into a single-view format and layers additional complexity onto the data processing pipeline. Consequently, the maintenance of such a system turns out to be both costly and intricate.
In essence, the hidden costs of real-time analytics extends beyond the obvious financial investment, and you should be aware of its impact on the operational complexity and flexibility of your data infrastructure.
Mitigating Real-Time Costs
While the challenges and associated costs of implementing real-time analytics can appear intimidating, you have options. Innovations are emerging that specifically address these complexities. StarRocks, an open source real-time analytical database, is one such example.
StarRocks is unique in its ability to efficiently carry out JOIN operations on-the-fly. This capability empowers the real-time consolidation of multiple tables, bypassing the need for costly and complex preprocessing or denormalization. This not only alleviates the operational and financial burdens tied to maintaining such pipelines but also imparts a remarkable agility to the data pipeline.
The advanced capabilities of StarRocks transform JOIN operations from a bottleneck into an efficiency driver. The ability to deliver immediate insights means businesses can harness the true potential of real-time analytics: making swift, data-informed decisions. In effect, StarRocks is a great example of a tangible solution to the hidden costs and complexities of real-time analytics.
Ready for Real-Time Analytics. What Comes Next?
Ultimately, the decision to adopt real-time analytics will depend on a careful evaluation of the benefits against the costs. The costs associated with implementing real-time analytics - both monetary and resource-based - can be significant. However, the potential benefits in terms of improved decision-making, enhanced operational efficiency, and increased competitiveness are considerable.
Solutions like StarRocks can help to significantly reduce the costs associated with real-time analytics while maximizing its benefits. By simplifying data pipelines and enabling efficient, on-the-fly JOIN operations, StarRocks is helping to make real-time analytics more accessible and cost-effective for businesses.
So, is real-time analytics worth the real-time cost? With the right approach and tools, the answer can certainly be a resounding 'yes'.
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