Top 4 data ingestion challenges
for big data-driven companies

Clément Mercier

12 January 2023 | 5 minutes

How to choose a Data Ingestion tool?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a data ingestion tool, including the volume and velocity of the data being ingested, the complexity of the data transformation and cleansing required, the security and compliance requirements of the data, and the integration with other systems and tools in the organization.

In this article, we will explore the challenges of data ingestion, and show you how to overcome them. We will also advise you on how to select the right tool for your organization based on your specific needs and requirements. This document serves as a comprehensive resource on data ingestion tools, covering the different types of tools available, their key features and capabilities, and the factors to consider when choosing the right tool for your organization.

Data ingestion is an essential step in the data analytics process, it involves importing data from external sources into a database or data warehouse for analysis and reporting.

Organizations would be unable to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions if they didn’t ingest data in an efficient and accurate way.

Data Ingestion

Data ingestion is an essential step in the data analytics process, it involves importing data from external sources into a database or data warehouse for analysis and reporting.

Organizations would be unable to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions if they didn’t ingest data in an efficient and accurate way.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a data ingestion tool, including the volume and velocity of the data being ingested, the complexity of the data transformation and cleansing required, the security and compliance requirements of the data, and the integration with other systems and tools in the organization.

In this article, we will explore the challenges of data ingestion, and show you how to overcome them. We will also advise you on how to select the right tool for your organization based on your specific needs and requirements. This document serves as a comprehensive resource on data ingestion tools, covering the different types of tools available, their key features and capabilities, and the factors to consider when choosing the right tool for your organization.

Data Ingestion Challenges

Different type of data ingestion
DATA INGESTION TYPE
Batch Ingestion
Near real-time iIngestion
Stream Ingestion
Push and Pull method
File-based Ingestion
Database-based Ingestion
DESCRIPTION

Data is loaded in batches, typically on a scheduled basis, such us daily or weekly. This type of ingestion is often used when large amounts of data need to be processed and analyzed in a short period time.

Data ingested as it is generated, allowing for near instantaneous processing and analysis. Thist type of ingestion is often used in applications where data needs to analyzed and acted upon in real-time, such us in financial traiding or tansportation systems.

Data being ingested as it is generated, it is ingested  in a continuous stream. This allows for near real-time processing and analysis of data, and often used in applications such as monitoring sensor data or social media streams.

Data is actively to a system by the source, whereas in a data pull, the system actively pulls data from the source. Change Data Capture (CDC) is another type of data ingestion method where only the changes made to data source are ingested, rather than the entire datasets.

Data ingested from a file or set of files, such us CSV or JSON. This type of ingestion is often used when data needs to be loaded from a local or external storage system. API-based ingestion is another way on bringing data into a system, where data is ingested through an application programming interface (API)

Data is ingested directly from a database. This type of ingestion is often used when data needs to be loaded from a database management systems (DBMS). Social Media Ingestion is another way of data ingestion where data is ingested from social  media platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook.

Volume & Velocity

One of the most difficult aspects of data ingestion is dealing with the volume and velocity of the data being ingested. As organizations collect and generate more data from various sources, the amount of data that needs to be consumed can become overwhelming for data teams. This can lead to bottlenecks in the ingestion process and impact the overall performance and efficiency of the data analytics pipeline.

For example, in the service industry which has an extended customer list, companies might have issues to consolidating the huge data sets they’re extracting from CRM and ERP systems and other data sources into a unified and manageable big data architecture. IoT devices, such as smart sensors and connected devices, generate large amounts of data, often in real time. This data is used to gain insights into the performance and behavior of the devices and the systems they are connected to.

However, the volume and velocity of data generated by IoT Data devices can be a significant obstacle. The data ingestion process needs to be able to handle the large amounts of data being generated and processed in real time. This can be a complex and time-consuming process and requires a detailed understanding of the data and the requirements of the processing and analysis systems.

To address this challenge, IoT companies often use stream processing and big data technologies to handle the volume and velocity of data generated by IoT devices. These technologies allow for the real-time processing and analysis of data and can handle large amounts of data. Additionally, data management and data warehousing platforms can be used to store and manage the data generated by IoT data devices.

Data transformation & Cleaning

Another challenge of data ingestion is data transformation and data cleansing. In many cases, the data being ingested is raw and unstructured. It requires significant transformation and cleansing before it can be used for analysis. This can be time-consuming and error-prone and requires specialized skills and tools to handle efficiently. Data transformation and cleansing involves various tasks, such as parsing, filtering, aggregating, and standardizing the data, and may require the use of specialized languages and frameworks, such as SQL and ETL (extract, transform, load).

This challenge of data transformation and data cleansing can be seen in the healthcare industry. Electronic Health Records (EHR) are used to store and manage patient information, such as medical history, lab results, and treatment plans. However, data from different EHR systems might not be compatible and have a different structure and format. When healthcare providers or researchers need to access patient data through different EHR systems, they often face the challenge of transformation and cleansing.

This process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, as it requires a detailed understanding of the data and the requirements of the analysis systems. To address this challenge, healthcare providers and researchers often use data integration and data quality software to automate data transformation and cleansing. This can greatly improve the efficiency and accuracy of the data analysis process.

Data security & Compliance

Data security and data compliance are also significant obstacles in data ingestion. Because organizations handle sensitive and personal data, it is critical to ensure that the data is secure and compliant with applicable regulations and policies. This can be a difficult task, especially when dealing with large amounts of data from multiple sources. Data security and data compliance involve a range of measures, such as encryption, access control, and data masking, and may require the use of specialized tools and technologies, such as data loss prevention (DLP) and data governance.

Financial institutions, such as banks and investment firms, handles sensitive customer information such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, and financial transaction. This data is subject to strict regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ensure the protection of customer’s personal information.

When ingesting data into a system, financial institutions need to ensure that the data is secure and compliant with regulations. This includes tasks such as encrypting sensitive data, implementing access controls, and monitoring for suspicious activity. This can be a significant obstacle as the data ingested into the system may come from various sources and in different formats, and ensuring compliance and security for all data can be a complex and time-consuming process.

To overcome this constraint, financial institutions often implement advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems. Additionally, they use data governance frameworks and data quality software to ensure that data is accurate, complete, and complies with regulations.

Integration in systems

Finally, integration with other organizational systems and tools can be difficult. Because data ingestion is just only one component of the overall data analytics process, it is important to ensure that the data ingested can be easily accessible and usable by other tools and processes in the pipeline. This requires seamless integration and coordination between the different systems and tools involved. Additionally, this could include the use of APIs and integration frameworks, as well as the development of custom integrations and connectors.

For example, retail companies collect large amounts of data from various sources, such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, customer loyalty programs, and online sales platforms. This data is used to gain insights into customer behavior and improve business operations, such as inventory management and marketing strategies.

However, integrating this data into the organization’s systems and tools can be a significant obstacle. Data may be stored in different formats and structures and may need to be integrated with existing systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and business intelligence (BI) tools. This can be a complex and time-consuming process and requires a detailed understanding of the data and the requirements of the organizational systems and tools.

Retail companies often use data integration and data management platforms to automate the data ingestion process and integrate the data with other systems and tools. These platforms allow for the integration of data from multiple sources and can be configured to support different data formats and structures. Additionally, data governance frameworks can be used to ensure data quality and consistency across the organization’s systems and tools.

Introducing Shapelets

Shapelets is one such tool that offers a comprehensive solution for data processing and management. It standout features a storage engine that is optimized for time series data and can connect with various data stores, including common streaming data services. This makes it an ideal choice for organizations dealing with large amounts of time series data.

This versatility allows data teams to use Shapelets in a way that best fits their needs and resources. Additionally, Shapelets includes real-time monitoring, machine learning automation, and recommendations, as well as the ability to be deployed on a variety of platforms, including local computers, the cloud, and on-premise infrastructures.

In terms of processing capabilities, Shapelets incorporates highly efficient implementations of state-of-the-art algorithms for time series prediction, classification, and anomaly detection. It also allows users to use their preferred Python libraries or even their own code implementations, which can be seamlessly deployed in computing clusters for maximum performance through distributed execution. This flexibility makes Shapelets a valuable tool for data professionals looking to use their preferred methods and techniques for data analysis and data-driven insights.

For example, in our last performance study, we demonstrated the outstanding ingestion capabilities of a platform by using the New York Taxi dataset from 2009, which is 5.3 GB in size. To put this into perspective, a month’s worth of data is approximately 400 MB. We were able to complete the calculation in just 3 seconds, while other solutions may take up to 15 seconds. This shows a significant improvement in terms of time and resources.

Overall, Shapelets is a unique and valuable tool for businesses and data professionals looking to transform and empower their organizations through data-driven solutions. Its comprehensive approach to data management and data-driven processing makes it a powerful choice for data teams looking to efficiently manage and analyze large amounts of data from the early stages of collection and ingestion to storage and value extraction.

Conclusion

In conclusion, data ingestion is a crucial step in the data analytics process, as it involves importing data from external sources into a database or data warehouse for analysis and reporting. However, data ingestion also comes with its own set of challenges, including handling the volume and velocity of the data being ingested, managing the data transformation and cleansing process, ensuring data security and compliance, and integrating the data ingestion process with other systems and tools in the organization.

These challenges can be overwhelming for data teams, especially as the amount of data being generated and collected continues to grow. For this reason, it is important for companies to provide their data teams with effective tools to optimize their work and resources.

Clément Mercier

Clément Mercier

Data Scientist Intern

Clément Mercier originally received his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Hult International Business school in Boston and is currently finishing his Master’s Degree in Big Data at IE school of Technology.

Clément has good international experience working with startups and big corporations such as the Zinneken’s Group, MediateTech in Boston, and Nestlé in Switzerland.

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