Just like boot-cut jeans and fuel-efficient cars, big data warehouses are coming back in style.  Take a trip down memory lane, when IBM introduced the corporate data warehouse (CDW) initiative in the early 1990s. The idea, which was admittedly very mainframe-centric at the time, was to put all your data for decision support onto one database. Naturally, the best platform for that database happened to be an IBM mainframe. Centralizing data, in what would years later be referred to as the "single version of the truth," would enable businesspeople to gain an enterprise view of the business.

Being an early adopter always carries some risk, and this was no exception. CDW projects generally took longer than planned, ran over budget and underdelivered on expectations. And that was for the projects that actually were completed; many simply fizzled out. It is worth noting that many other big corporate projects in the 1990s encountered similar fates. There were scattered success stories, but, in general, the underwhelming results gave CDWs a bad reputation. It was inevitable, therefore, that there would be a backlash.

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