WhereScape RED Review

Automated documentation, quick time to market, ease of use, code standardization and support for Data Vault 2.0.


What is most valuable?

Automated creation of documentation, quick time to market, ease of use, code standardization and support for Data Vault 2.0.

How has it helped my organization?

We can focus on the data itself (data quality, MDM, metrics) instead of spending time building code to move and transform the data. During the POC myself and one WS resource were able to deliver a project in 3 days that had been in development by other resources for 6 months and still hadn't been delivered.

We were more productive from the moment we started using RED but that X-factor has only improved as we have become more comfortable with the toolset and as RED adds new features with each successive release.


What needs improvement?

Since WS supports Data Vault 2.0, I would like to see automated support for hash keys on the appropriate Data Vault tables. WS does have a table trigger that can be manually added to the WS repository that will accomplishes this but it isn’t built in to the IDE. I would like to see multi-database (creating/storing tables in different databases based on type, e.g. staging, data mart, etc.). Similarly to the hash keys, it can be accomplished (I'm using multiple databases) it just requires making a manual entry in a RED repository table for each database. Again, having it officially built in to the IDE would be great. The only other thing I would note is that the IDE isn’t as intuitive as I would like. Like most tools, after several weeks of use it makes a lot more sense…but for new users there will be a moderate ramp up time.


For how long have I used the solution?

About 1 year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The releases have been of surprisingly high quality compared to other vendor software I have used. We had the opportunity to test out a customer preview (i.e. beta) and were surprised to find no stability issues nor bugs in our testing. The features that were exposed in the customer preview were stable enough we felt comfortable moving forward with upgrading our Dev environments to begin development work using those features.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not run in to any issues with scalability at this point. Although I don't expect code-generation tools to write optimal code. I am surprised to see WS generate fairly good SQL code. I am very skilled in writing SQL and I was very impressed with what was generated.

Previously, I felt that I might need to write custom procedures to handle large table loads (i.e. 500+GB in a table), however, I no longer believe that to be true. I haven't reached those sizes in this environment (yet), however, I believe columnar indices and other standard SQL features would be able to cover any performance concerns since RED is producing well written SQL.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Good. Searching on the customer forums is very well done and has helped me not only solve issues I was running in to but also discover other features I wasn't aware of.

Technical Support:

Good.

Which solutions did we use previously?

1. Information Builders iWay Data Migrator

2. SQL Server Integration Services

3. Hand coded SQL procedures

Data Migrator is just another ETL tool and the UI is not intuitive. Multi-threading is the only advantage Data Migrator has over SSIS and hand-coded procedures, however the cost isn't justified.

WhereScape RED handles the versioning, building of the objects (SSIS packages, SQL procedures, etc.) and provides an advanced, multi-threaded scheduler that makes it easy to manage object dependencies and objects that can be loaded in parallel.

A REALLY COOL feature is to create a track-back diagram from some destination object, e.g. FactSales. That opens a tab with a pretty diagram of the flow of data from the source system all the way through to the fact table. Tell RED to create a job from the diagram and *boom*, you have a schedule with all tasks and dependencies created to make sure that FactTable is loaded appropriately.

How was the initial setup?

I felt the setup was fairly straightforward. I've seen better and I've seen worse. As with most things, it's just wrapping your head around the architecture and methodology WS has implemented.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

I believe the break-even on the investment is less than 1-year at this point.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Because WS builds native SQL code you don't have to worry about vendor lock-in as with other solutions. If you decide to walk away from WS you still have a working data warehouse environment. The only thing you would need to do is schedule the load procedures with another scheduling tool. Licensing negotiations are pretty straightforward as the development IDE is just a seat license model. They are very flexible in how they approach licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have used SSIS, Information Builders' Data Migrator and home grown SQL Server stored procedures. If I was to order these solutions in terms of ROI they would be:

1. WhereScape RED

2. SQL Server stored procedures

3. SSIS

4. Data Migrator

What other advice do I have?

No solution is perfect and I could probably find nits here and there, however, I find WhereScape RED to be exactly what I was looking for. Roughly 80% of a data analyst's job is preparing data and 20% is doing the analysis. I purchased WhereScape RED to flip that equation on its head.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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