Whats the hottest new data thing in 2022 — Data Mesh or Metric Store
There is a lot of vendor washing going on
A lot of data vendors are vendor washing their technologies to pretend they enable “Data Mesh” as they are punting on Data Mesh being the new thing for 2022. I think they are missing the real hot thing for 2022, which will be the Metric Layer / Headless BI.
Waves are inevitable and endless
Data technologies go through waves, and we have seen these waves before.
We have seen a wave of databases that help store and query data warehouse data before. We have just seen that wave again, led by AWS Redshift & Microsoft PDW, then by Google BigQuery and finally Snowflake who did a great job of out marketing them all.
We have seen a wave of tools that help transform data to make it easier to use before. We have just seen that wave again, led by dbt and now closely followed by a number of dbt clones.
The next wave we saw was the world of OLAP engines, where they focussed on “cubes”
Those ROLAP/MOLAP/HOLAP technologies allowed less technically literate people to easily define hierarchies for data, custom aggregations for data and calculations, aka what we used to call KPI’s.
Data Tool Trifecta
If we think of data tooling as being a trifecta of capability:
- Storage and query execution
- Transformation code
- Calculation code
Then we are about to head into the 3rd wave, Metric Stores / Headless BI.
Will it be a winner takes all
So who will win that wave, Snowflake, dbt or a new player?
Some of the new players will obviously come out of the Last Mile Viz tools, as they try and push their value further left into the data supply chain.
dbt has already stated its working on the Metric Store. That will move them right in the data supply chain, breaching into the last mile viz area.
But if they include the ability to execute the metric logic rather than just store the metric definition, aka an OLAP style calculation engine, then that also pushes them left in the data supply chain, into the data storage and query area.
Snowflake has to be working on an in-memory OLAP style execution capability, it just makes sense. But will they be happy to push right in the data supply chain to enable metric execution, and leave a 3rd party in between, i.e somebody else’s tool to define the metrics. I don’t think so.
To become the Salesforce of data, a true data cloud, Snowflake have to own the metric definition space, so they will need to either build or buy to fill that gap.
Im still intrigued if Snowflake will buy a last mile viz tool, or just wait until they are fully acquired by Salesforce and use Tableau. But thats a subject for a different article.
Metric Stores will be the new hot 2022 data thing
Do we see Snowflake, dbt, and the new last mile viz tools aggressively hoping on the Data Mesh hype train? No.
Do we see these vendors aggressively trying to expand left & right in the data supply chain, by trying to dominate the Metric Store layer, hell yes!
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