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As the world becomes increasingly data-driven, businesses must find suitable solutions to help them achieve their desired outcomes. Data lake storage has garnered the attention of many organizations that need to store large amounts of unstructured, raw information until it can be used in analytics applications.

The data lake solution market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years and is driven by vendors that offer cost-effective, scalable solutions for their customers.

Learn more about data lake solutions, what key features they should have and some of the top vendors to consider this year. 

What is a data lake solution?

A data lake is defined as a single, centralized repository that can store massive amounts of unstructured and semi-structured information in its native, raw form. 

It’s common for an organization to store unstructured data in a data lake if it hasn’t decided how that information will be used. Some examples of unstructured data include images, documents, videos and audio. These data types are useful in today’s advanced machine learning (ML) and advanced analytics applications.

Data lakes differ from data warehouses, which store structured, filtered information for specific purposes in files or folders. Data lakes were created in response to some of the limitations of data warehouses. For example, data warehouses are expensive and proprietary, cannot handle certain business use cases an organization must address, and may lead to unwanted information homogeneity.

On-premise data lake solutions were commonly used before the widespread adoption of the cloud. Now, it’s understood that some of the best hosts for data lakes are cloud-based platforms on the edge because of their inherent scalability and considerably modular services. 

A 2019 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights several business benefits of using the cloud, including better customer service and the acquisition of cost-effective options for IT management services.

Cloud data lakes and on-premise data lakes have pros and cons. Businesses should consider cost, scale and available technical resources to decide which type is best.

Read more about data lakes: What is a data lake? Definition, benefits, architecture and best practices

5 must-have features of a data lake solution

It’s critical to understand what features a data lake offers. Most solutions come with the same core components, but each vendor may have specific offerings or unique selling points (USPs) that could influence a business’s decision.

Below are five key features every data lake should have:

1. Various interfaces, APIs and endpoints

Data lakes that offer diverse interfaces, APIs and endpoints can make it much easier to upload, access and move information. These capabilities are important for a data lake because it allows unstructured data for a wide range of use cases, depending on a business’s desired outcome.

2. Support for or connection to processing and analytics layers

ML engineers, data scientists, decision-makers and analysts benefit most from a centralized data lake solution that stores information for easy access and availability. This characteristic can help data professionals and IT managers work with data more seamlessly and efficiently, thus improving productivity and helping companies reach their goals.

3. Robust search and cataloging features

Imagine a data lake with large amounts of information but no sense of organization. A viable data lake solution must incorporate generic organizational methods and search capabilities, which provide the most value for its users. Other features might include key-value storage, tagging, metadata, or tools to classify and collect subsets of information.

4. Security and access control

Security and access control are two must-have features with any digital tool. The current cybersecurity landscape is expanding, making it easier for threat actors to exploit a company’s data and cause irreparable damage. Only certain users should have access to a data lake, and the solution must have strong security to protect sensitive information.

5. Flexibility and scalability

More organizations are growing larger and operating at a much faster rate. Data lake solutions must be flexible and scalable to meet the ever-changing needs of modern businesses working with information.

Also read: Unlocking analytics with data lake and graph analysis

Top 10 data lake solution vendors in 2022

Some data lake solutions are best suited for businesses in certain industries. In contrast, others may work well for a company of a particular size or with a specific number of employees or customers. This can make choosing a potential data lake solution vendor challenging. 

Companies considering investing in a data lake solution this year should check out some of the vendors below.

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The AWS Cloud provides many essential tools and services that allow companies to build a data lake that meets their needs. The AWS data lake solution is widely used, cost-effective and user-friendly. It leverages the security, durability, flexibility and scalability that Amazon S3 object storage offers to its users. 

The data lake also features Amazon DynamoDB to handle and manage metadata. AWS data lake offers an intuitive, web-based console user interface (UI) to manage the data lake easily. It also forms data lake policies, removes or adds data packages, creates manifests of datasets for analytics purposes, and features search data packages.

2. Cloudera

Cloudera is another top data lake vendor that will create and maintain safe, secure storage for all data types. Some of Cloudera SDX’s Data Lake Service capabilities include:

  • Data schema/metadata information
  • Metadata management and governance
  • Compliance-ready access auditing
  • Data access authorization and authentication for improved security

Other benefits of Cloudera’s data lake include product support, downloads, community and documentation. GSK and Toyota leveraged Cloudera’s data lake to garner critical business intelligence (BI) insights and manage data analytics processes.

3. Databricks 

Databricks is another viable vendor, and it also offers a handful of data lake alternatives. The Databricks Lakehouse Platform combines the best elements of data lakes and warehouses to provide reliability, governance, security and performance.

Databricks’ platform helps break down silos that normally separate and complicate data, which frustrates data scientists, ML engineers and other IT professionals. Aside from the platform, Databricks also offers its Delta Lake solution, an open-format storage layer that can improve data lake management processes. 

4. Domo

Domo is a cloud-based software company that can provide big data solutions to all companies. Users have the freedom to choose a cloud architecture that works for their business. Domo is an open platform that can augment existing data lakes, whether it’s in the cloud or on-premise. Users can use combined cloud options, including:

  • Choosing Domo’s cloud
  • Connecting to any cloud data
  • Selecting a cloud data platform

Domo offers advanced security features, such as BYOK (bring your own key) encryption, control data access and governance capabilities. Well-known corporations such as Nestle, DHL, Cisco and Comcast leverage the Domo Cloud to better manage their needs.

5. Google Cloud

Google is another big tech player offering customers data lake solutions. Companies can use Google Cloud’s data lake to analyze any data securely and cost-effectively. It can handle large volumes of information and IT professionals’ various processing tasks. Companies that don’t want to rebuild their on-premise data lakes in the cloud can easily lift and shift their information to Google Cloud. 

Some key features of Google’s data lakes include Apache Spark and Hadoop migration, which are fully managed services, integrated data science and analytics, and cost management tools. Major companies like Twitter, Vodafone, Pandora and Metro have benefited from Google Cloud’s data lakes.

6. HP Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is another data lake solution vendor that can help businesses harness the power of their big data. HPE’s solution is called GreenLake — it offers organizations a truly scalable, cloud-based solution that simplifies their Hadoop experiences. 

HPE GreenLake is an end-to-end solution that includes software, hardware and HPE Pointnext Services. These services can help businesses overcome IT challenges and spend more time on meaningful tasks. 

7. IBM

Business technology leader IBM also offers data lake solutions for companies. IBM is well-known for its cloud computing and data analytics solutions. It’s a great choice if an operation is looking for a suitable data lake solution. IBM’s cloud-based approach operates on three key principles: embedded governance, automated integration and virtualization.

These are some data lake solutions from IBM: 

  • IBM Db2
  • IBM Db2 BigSQL
  • IBM Netezza
  • IBM Watson Query
  • IBM Watson Knowledge Catalog
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Data

With so many data lakes available, there’s surely one to fit a company’s unique needs. Financial services, healthcare and communications businesses often use IBM data lakes for various purposes.

8. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft offers its Azure Data Lake solution, which features easy storage methods, processing, and analytics using various languages and platforms. Azure Data Lake also works with a company’s existing IT investments and infrastructure to make IT management seamless.

The Azure Data Lake solution is affordable, comprehensive, secure and supported by Microsoft. Companies benefit from 24/7 support and expertise to help them overcome any big data challenges they may face. Microsoft is a leader in business analytics and tech solutions, making it a popular choice for many organizations.

9. Oracle

Companies can use Oracle’s Big Data Service to build data lakes to manage the influx of information needed to power their business decisions. The Big Data Service is automated and will provide users with an affordable and comprehensive Hadoop data lake platform based on Cloudera Enterprise. 

This solution can be used as a data lake or an ML platform. Another important feature of Oracle is it is one of the best open-source data lakes available. It also comes with Oracle-based tools to add even more value. Oracle’s Big Data Service is scalable, flexible, secure and will meet data storage requirements at a low cost.

10. Snowflake

Snowflake’s data lake solution is secure, reliable and accessible and helps businesses break down silos to improve their strategies. The top features of Snowflake’s data lake include a central platform for all information, fast querying and secure collaboration.

Siemens and Devon Energy are two companies that provide testimonials regarding Snowflake’s data lake solutions and offer positive feedback. Another benefit of Snowflake is its extensive partner ecosystem, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Accenture, Deloitte and Google Cloud.

The importance of choosing the right data lake solution vendor 

Companies that spend extra time researching which vendors will offer the best enterprise data lake solutions for them can manage their information better. Rather than choose any vendor, it’s best to consider all options available and determine which solutions will meet the specific needs of an organization.

Every business uses information, some more than others. However, the world is becoming highly data-driven — therefore, leveraging the right data solutions will only grow more important in the coming years. This list will help companies decide which data lake solution vendor is right for their operations.

Read next: Get the most value from your data with data lakehouse architecture

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