An introduction to Databricks lakehouse

Sunilkumar Prajapati
8 min readOct 19, 2023

The platform Databricks makes it easier for users to interact with large data, conduct data analysis, and use machine learning. Data scientists and analysts might think of it as a toolset. To store, handle, and analyze massive amounts of data, it offers capabilities and tools. By allowing teams to work together, run computer programs on huge data, and create machine learning models all in one location, Databricks facilitates team collaboration. It’s frequently utilized by enterprises to interpret their data and make wiser decisions.

What is a data Lakehouse?

Before knowing about the Data lakehouse, we should know about the Data warehouse. So Data warehouses were designed to collect and consolidate this influx of data and provide support for overall business intelligence and analytics for overall business intelligence and analytics.

Data in a data warehouse is structured and clean with predefined schemas.

Pros: —

1] Business Intelligence(BI):-The creation of reports, dashboards, and visualizations is made simpler by the integration of data warehouses with different BI tools.

2] Analytics:- Data warehouses make it easier to analyze and report on complex data. They enable speedy and effective query execution and report generation for consumers. Understanding trends, patterns, and performance measures inside the company is critical.

3]Clean and Organized Data: Most data in a data warehouse has been cleaned and organized. This indicates that information has been processed to eliminate errors and inconsistencies and is arranged in a manner that makes it easy to deal with. The accuracy of the analysis and reporting outcomes is increased thanks to the clean data.

4]Predefined Schemas: Predefined schemas, which are effective blueprints for how data is arranged, are frequently used in data warehouses. This guarantees consistency in data storage and reporting and facilitates data retrieval and storage.

Cons:-

1]Limited Capability to Handle Semi-Structured or Unstructured Data: Conventional data warehouses are mainly made to handle structured data that follows pre-established criteria. Unstructured or semi-structured data, such as text, photos, or videos, which are becoming more and more important in today’s data environment, could be difficult for them to manage.

2]Inflexible Schemas: Data warehouses frequently employ strict, preset schemas, which can be difficult to work with when dealing with changing data needs. The schema is less flexible to quickly changing business needs since changes to it can be expensive and time-consuming.

3]Problems with Upticks in Volume and Velocity: Conventional data warehouses may not be able to keep up with the sheer amount and speed of data generated by businesses. They might be inefficient at handling massive amounts of data, or they might need major hardware improvements.

4]Long Processing Time: When working with enormous datasets, it can take a while to execute complex queries and transformations in a traditional data warehouse. Delays in gaining insights from the data can result from this, which is not good for making decisions in real-time.

Data Lake

Imagine your entire digital archive as a large pond, which is what a data lake is. Large volumes of various forms of data can be gathered and stored there, including unstructured data like text documents, semi-structured data like XML files, and structured data like databases and photos.

One distinctive feature of a data lake is that it stores data without requiring you to first arrange or organize it. Everything may be just thrown in, and you can figure out how to use it later on when you need to analyze or interact with the data. Consider it as a vast, “messy,” but unstructured data source that you may examine and examine in many ways to uncover important patterns and insights.

When you have a large amount of data that doesn’t fit neatly into typical databases or when you’re not quite sure how you’ll use the data in the future, it’s very helpful.

Pros:-

1] Flexible Data Storage:- Unstructured and raw data can be stored in data lakes. Because of this flexibility, you can gather and save data without having to predetermine its structure. This is especially helpful when working with a variety of dynamic data sources.

2]Support for Streaming: Real-time data streams are a good fit for data lakes. As data is generated, it may be ingested, enabling real-time analytics and the ability to react to events as they happen.

3]Cost-effective on the Cloud: The cloud is a popular location for data lake implementation, which has financial benefits. You can pay for the resources you use with cloud services, which provide scalable processing and storage. Compared to conventional on-premises solutions, this is more economical.

4] Support for AI and Machine Learning: Data lakes provide a perfect framework for initiatives involving AI and machine learning. They offer a wealth of varied and rich datasets for testing and training machine learning models. Data scientists can investigate and test various data sources thanks to data storage’s versatility.

Cons:-

1]No Transactional Support: The architecture of data lakes precludes transactional processing. Instead of managing transactional data in real-time, they are more appropriate for batch processing and storing massive amounts of data for analytics.

2] Poor Data Reliability: Data lakes that aren’t carefully managed might turn into “data swamps” where the quality and dependability of the data may decline. Analyses and decisions that are based on incomplete or inconsistent data may be erroneous.

3] Slow Analysis Performance:- Analyzing data in a data lake may take longer than in a data warehouse, particularly if the data is semi-structured or unstructured. This may have an effect on how quickly insights may be drawn from the data.

4]Problems with Data Governance:- The “schema on read” strategy and absence of preset schemas might make data lakes challenging to manage. In the absence of sound governance procedures, ensuring data quality, privacy, and compliance can be difficult.

5] Data Security Issues:- Keeping enormous volumes of data in a data lake may cause security issues. To stop unwanted access and data breaches, access control, encryption, and data protection must be properly handled.

6]Data Warehouse Still Needed: Organizations frequently discover that data lakes and data warehouses have diverse functions, leading them to employ both. Data warehouses are used to store structured, processed data for reporting and business intelligence, whereas data lakes are used to store raw data for exploration and storage. This may result in higher costs and complexity.

Business required two disparate, incompatible data platforms

Businesses established complicated technology stack settings, comprising data lakes, data warehouses, and other specialized systems for streaming, time series, graph, and picture databases, to mention a few. Data lakes did not completely replace data warehouses for dependable BI insights. However, because data teams were confined to silos and had to do fragmented tasks, such an environment added complexity and caused delays.

The need to copy data back and forth between the systems had an effect on oversight and data usage governance. Moreover, the expense of storing the same data twice across disparate systems was incurred.
It was challenging to apply AI successfully, and gathering data from various sources was necessary to produce useful results.

Companies reporting measurable value from data

Measurable value from data was indicated by only 32% of organizations in a recent Accenture research. Businesses required a single, adaptable, high-performance solution to handle the growing number of use cases for predictive modeling, predictive analytics, and data exploration, therefore something had to change.

Systems for data applications, such as real-time analysis, machine learning, data science, and SQL analytics, were required by data teams. to satisfy these demands while resolving the issues and difficulties. There was a new architecture for data management: The data lakehouse.

The Data lakehouse was developed as an open architecture, combining the benefit of a data lake with the analytics power and controls of a data warehouse.

Built on a data lake, a data lakehouse can store all data of any type together, becoming a single reliable source of truth, and providing direct access for AI and BI together.

Data lakehouses like the Databricks Lakehouse platform offer several key features, such as :

1]Transaction Support: Using data lakehouses, you can carry out dependable, instantaneous transactional actions on your data. As with a conventional database, you can update, add, or remove data with confidence because of this.

2]Schema Governance and Enforcement: Data lakehouses keep order by enforcing data structure guidelines. To maintain your data dependable and structured, they make sure it complies with established standards and governance guidelines.

3]Data Governance: To govern and secure your data, data lakehouses provide rules and regulations. To keep your data secure and compliant, this also involves access control, data privacy, and regulatory compliance.

4]BI Support: By integrating with business intelligence tools, a data lakehouse enables you to conduct data analysis, produce reports, and derive insights from your data to help you make wise decisions.

5]Decoupled Storage from Processing: Information is kept apart from the processing resources in storage. Because of this division, you may grow processing and storage separately, which reduces costs and increases flexibility.

6]Open Storage formats: There is no vendor lock-in because data is kept in open and easily accessible forms that facilitate working with a variety of tools and technologies.

7]Support for Diverse Data Types: You can work with a variety of data formats with a data lakehouse since it can handle structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.

8]Support for Diverse Workloads: It can handle a range of workloads, from batch processing to real-time data streaming, allowing you to effectively handle a variety of data operations.

9]End-to-End Streaming:- Data lakehouses are outfitted to manage data flowing from beginning to end. In order to provide quick insights and actions, this implies that you can process and analyze data as it comes in.

The lakehouse provides one area where data scientists, engineers, and analysts may collaborate on projects. The lakehouse is simply a more advanced form of a data warehouse, offering all the capabilities and advantages of a data lake without sacrificing its deep flexibility.

--

--