product analytics

What Is a Data Stack And How Do You Build One?

May 9, 2024

5 mins read

What is a data stack? A data stack is a term used to describe the collection of software products and tools that are used to collect, store, process, and analyze data. Typical data stacks will include the following:

  • A database (or multiple databases)
  • A web server
  • An application server
  • Scripts or applications that perform tasks such as reverse ETL (extract-transform-load), reporting, or analytics.

Learn more about what is a data stack and why you should update your legacy data tools into a modern data stack.

What is a Data Stack?

In today’s digital world, data is the most valuable commodity that a company has. But by itself, a piece of data can be pretty useless. In order to extract value from it, it must be first collected, analyzed, and put into use in an analytic process.

The technologies involved in moving data from one step to another are collectively called data stack.

Data stacks are structured like a kitchen. Before you can cook, you need to gather your ingredients and store them somewhere. Then, you prepare and cook them.

Like the kitchen, a stack is central. If things were stored in different rooms, it would be difficult to know which recipe to use. However, if everything were together, it would be easy to visualize several different meals.

Much like a kitchen, cloud data warehouses are a central hub where data integration happens. Traditional warehouses were difficult to use and the data was siloed. On-demand cloud data warehouses are friendlier to analysts’ self-serve technologies and can lower costs and improve performance with elastic storage.

Let’s take a look at four key elements of what is a data stack.

1. Loading

A part of the technology ecosystem that is responsible for transporting data from one location to another.

2. Warehousing

Data storage technologies store all your data in one single place. They are the foundation of modern-day data integration.

3. Transforming

This is the step that transforms raw data into refined data for analysis. Most businesses use a data preparation tool to do this.

4. Analysis

During the data analysis stage, organizations begin to glean valuable insights from their collected data by feeding it into machine learning models, creating custom reports and dashboards, or building out new data-driven services.

Organizations are realizing that legacy data tools are inadequate for solving the big data problems that they face. They are currently in the process of migrating data from their older, more outdated systems to a modern cloud computing data stack.


The Benefits of Using a Data Stack

A data stack can help you:

Organize your data

Keep your customer data organized and accessible. Along with data integration, your data stack can help you track changes to your data over time.

Process your data

Process your data for data analysis and convert your data into a format that is easier to work with.

Visualize your data

Visualize your customer data pipelines through your data stack. Data visualization can help you understand your data better and make better decisions.

Store your data

Data warehouses can be a valuable tool for any business. Modern data storage can help you manage and process your data more effectively. If you are not using a data stack, you may be missing out on some of the benefits that data warehouses can offer.

How to Build a Data Infrastructure

Building a data stack can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Define Your Goals

What do you want to achieve with your data stack?

Do you want to collect data models from multiple sources?

Do you want to analyze it in real-time?

Do you want to visualize it in an interactive dashboard?

2. Choose the Right Tools

There are a lot of great data stack options out there. But not all of them will be a good fit for your data quality needs. Do your research and choose the customer data platforms that will work best for you.

3. Get Help from Experts

If you're not sure where to start, reach out to an expert like a data scientist. They can help you choose the right tools and set up your data analytics stacks so they work for you.

Best Practices for Managing Your Data Stack

The term "data stack" is often used in the context of data science and big data.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing data but there are some best practices that can help your data teams.

First, it's important to have a clear understanding of your data integration goals. This will help you choose the right tools for the job.

Second, you need to be able to effectively manage and monitor your data stack. This includes keeping track of what data is being collected, where it's being stored, and how it's being processed.

Third, you need to have a plan for dealing with data growth. As your data stack grows, so will the amount of data that you need to manage.

Lastly, you need to be able to troubleshoot and debug your data stack. This includes being able to identify and fix problems that occur during data collection, processing, or visualization.

Following these best practices will help you build a robust and scalable data stack that meets your needs.

Tips for Troubleshooting Your Data Stack

If you're working with data, chances are you're going to run into some issues at some point. Whether it's something as simple as a data error or something more complex like trying to figure out why your data isn't loading properly, troubleshooting your data stack can be a challenge.

Here are some tips to help your data teams troubleshoot your data stack.

1. Check Your Data Sources

The first step in troubleshooting your data stack is to check your data sources. Make sure that the data you're trying to access is actually available and that there aren't any errors in the data itself.

2. Check Your Connection

If you're having trouble loading data, the problem may be with your connection. Make sure that you're connected to the internet and that your connection is stable.

3. Check Your Code

If you're having trouble with your data, the problem may be with your code. Check your code for any errors and make sure that it's running properly.

4. Ask for Help

If you're still having trouble, don't hesitate to ask for help from data scientists. There's no shame in admitting that you need help and there are plenty of people out there who would be happy to help you troubleshoot your data stack.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the modern data stack?

A data stack is a collection of software tools that are used to collect, store, process, and analyze data. The modern data stack typically includes a database, a data processing platform, and a visualization tool.

What is the stack in data structure?

A stack is a data structure that stores data in a last-in, first-out (LIFO) manner.


What is a data stack? A data stack is a powerful tool that can help businesses collect, store, process, and analyze data. When used correctly, data science can provide insights that would otherwise be unavailable.

If you're considering implementing a data stack at your business, be sure to consult with an experienced professional to ensure success.

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