data storage

Data lake vs data warehouse: 7 Key differences you should know

Are you struggling to decide which data storage option is best for your organization? Do you know the difference between a data warehouse and a data lake? If not, don't worry – you're not alone. In this post, we'll break down the key differences between data warehouses and data lakes, so you can make an informed decision about which option is right for your business.

What is a data lake? 

A data lake is a system or repository of data that holds a vast amount of raw data in its native format. This means that the data is not processed or structured in any way. The data lake concept is often compared to a data warehouse.

What is a data warehouse? 

A data warehouse is a system that stores data from multiple sources for reporting and analysis. The data in a warehouse is typically cleansed, transformed, and aggregated before it is stored. This means that the data warehouse contains only the information that is needed for the specific purpose for which it was designed.

Seven key differences between data lakes and data warehouses

  1. A data lake is a repository that can store all types of data, structured and unstructured. A data warehouse, on the other hand, is designed to store only structured data.

  2. Data in a data lake is stored in its native format, whereas data in a data warehouse is transformed into a uniform format.

  3. Data lakes are designed for data discovery and exploration as well as raw data storage, while data warehouses are optimized for data analysis and reporting.

  4. Data lakes are typically the domain of data scientists, developers and other experts when it comes to data analysis, while data warehouses tend to serve a mix of IT and line of business for structured data analysis..

  5. Data lakes usually allow for much greater flexibility in terms of data ingestion, as they can ingest data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats. Data warehouses, on the other hand, typically require that data be ingested in a specific format and from specific sources.

  6. Data lakes usually do not have any strict governance rules around data quality, meaning that the data stored in them can be of varying quality. Data warehouses, on the other hand, typically have strict governance rules in place to ensure that only high-quality data is stored.

  7. Data in a data lake is typically organized in a schema-on-read fashion, meaning that the structure of the data is not defined upfront but only when it is queried. In contrast, data in a data warehouse is typically organized in a schema-on-write fashion, meaning that the structure of the data must be defined upfront before it can be loaded into the warehouse.

Which one is right for you?

The answer to this question depends on your specific needs and requirements. If you need to store large volumes of data, then a data lake may be the better option. If you need to query and analyze data quickly and easily, then a data warehouse may be the better option. If you need to support both data discovery and data analysis, then a hybrid solution might be the best option. Ultimately, the decision comes down to which solution will best meet your needs.

If you are still unsure about what a data lake or data warehouse is, or which option is best for your business, don’t worry. We have the perfect solution to help you get the most out of both - ThoughtSpot’s Live Analytics. With ThoughtSpot, you can explore all of your data in one place and start deriving insights immediately. Plus, we offer a free trial so you can try it before you buy it. What are you waiting for? Start a free trial today!