Setting up Data Lake on GCP using Cloud Storage and BigQuery

Anushkakhatri 27 Feb, 2023
6 min read


A data lake is a centralized and scalable repository storing structured and unstructured data. The need for a data lake arises from the growing volume, variety, and velocity of data companies need to manage and analyze. Data lakes provide a way to store and process large amounts of raw data in its original format, making it available to many users, including data scientists and engineers. Data Lake is a flexible, cost-effective way to store and analyze data and can quickly scale and integrate with other data storage and processing systems. This allows companies to achieve better insights from their data and better decision-making.

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Learning Objectives

In this article, we will:

  1. Understand what cloud storage and bigquery services are and what is used for.
  2. Go through the instructions on setting up the data lake in the GCP using cloud storage and big service.
  3. Get the list of companies using these services.
  4. The security and governance in GCP.

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

Table of Contents

Overview of GCP’s Cloud Storage and BigQuery services

Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) Cloud Storage and BigQuery services are powerful data management and analysis tools. Cloud Storage is a fully-managed, highly scalable object storage service that allows storing and retrieving data from anywhere. BigQuery is a fully-managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse that supports fast SQL queries using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure. GCS and BigQuery together make GCP a scalable data lake that can store structured and unstructured data. A data lake on GCP allows you to store raw data in its original format and then use BigQuery for interactive analysis while leveraging other GCP services like Cloud Dataflow and Cloud Dataproc for data transformation and processing. Additionally, GCP provides security and access controls for data stored in a data lake, allowing you to share data with authorized users and external systems.

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Step-by-Step Instructions to Set Up a Data Lake on GCP with Cloud Storage and BigQuery

A data lake on GCP using Cloud Storage and BigQuery can be set up by following these steps:

  1. Create a New Project: create a new project and set up the BigQuery and Cloud Storage APIs for the project.
    Data Lake
  2. Create a Cloud Storage Bucket: Go to the Cloud Storage page in google cloud console, Click the create button, enter a unique name in the ‘Name’ field, and select Storage class and the location. You can even set the appropriate access control options.
    Data Lake
  3. Load Data into Cloud Storage: There are several ways to load data into Cloud Storage, including uploading files, using the command-line tool, or using the Cloud Storage API.
  4. Create a BigQuery Dataset and Table: Go to the GCP Console, select BigQuery, and create a new dataset. Choose a unique name for your dataset and select the location where you want to store the data. Then create a table in your BigQuery dataset that will store the data from Cloud Storage. Choose the appropriate table type, like a native or external table, and select the source data, including the GCS bucket and file(s) you want to load.
    Data Lake
  5. Load data into BigQuery: There are several ways to load data into BigQuery, including using the BigQuery Web UI, the BigQuery command-line tool, or a BigQuery client library. When you load data into BigQuery, you can choose to append new data to an existing table, overwrite existing data, or create a new table with each load.
  6. Perform Data Analysis and Visualization: Once the data is uploaded into BigQuery, you can analyze it using SQL queries, create reports and dashboards using Google Data Studio, or use machine learning models in BigQuery ML. You can visualize the data using GCP’s built-in visualization tools, like Data Studio, or integrate with other BI tools, like Tableau or Looker.
  7. Set up Data Management and Access Controls: It is important to set up a data management strategy to ensure the data in your data lake is organized, protected, and maintained. The access controls ensure that only authorized users can access and modify the data in the data lake.

Following these steps, you can set up a data lake on GCP using Cloud Storage and BigQuery. Thus, large amounts of structured and unstructured data can be stored to analyze and visualize your data.

Examples of Companies Using GCP Data Lake

A data lake on GCP using Cloud Storage and BigQuery can provide many benefits for companies looking to store, process, and analyze large amounts of data. Many use cases and examples exist of companies successfully using GCP data lakes to gain insights and drive business value. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Retail companies use GCP data lakes to analyze customer purchase behavior, while media companies use data lakes to analyze viewer engagement.
  2. Financial services companies use GCP data lakes for fraud detection and compliance reporting.
  3. Healthcare companies use GCP data lakes for population health management and precision medicine.
  4. E-commerce companies use GCP data lakes for customer behavior analysis and personalized recommendations.
  5. Travel and transportation companies using GCP data lakes for route optimization and passenger management.
  6. Telecommunications companies use GCP data lakes to monitor the performance of network and customer experience management.

An overview of GCP Data Lake Security and Governance

Security and governance are essential for setting up a GCP data lake using Cloud Storage and BigQuery. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Data encryption: All data in a data lake should be encrypted in transit and at rest. GCP has various encryption options, like customer-managed encryption keys, to ensure that data is protected.
  2. Access control: Ensure only authorized users can access data in the data lake. The Identity and Access Management(IAM) service control access to data and resources.
  3. Data governance: Implement policies to ensure data is accurate, complete, and consistent. This includes monitoring data quality, tracking data lineage, and controlling data access.
  4. Compliance: Ensure that the data lake meets regulatory requirements for data storage and processing. GCP has a variety of compliance certifications, like SOC 2, to meet the needs of different industries.
  5. Auditing: Implement auditing and logging to track data access and monitor Data Lake activity. GCP’s Stackdriver service monitors and analyze logs.

You can ensure the security and compliance of your GCP data lake by following these best practices.


In conclusion, for businesses looking to store, process, and analyze large amounts of data, GCP’s data lakes can provide a powerful and flexible platform to them. By using Cloud Storage and BigQuery, companies can easily ingest and store data from varying sources and then perform analytics and visualization to gain insights and drive business value.

The key takeaways of this article are given below:

  • The data lake set up on GCP using Cloud Storage, and BigQuery is a scalable, flexible, and cost-effective data storage and processing solution.
  • Cloud Storage is the primarily used data storage in a data lake set up to store large amounts of raw and unstructured data.
  •  BigQuery, on the other hand, is used for data analysis, processing, and querying.

In the future, data lakes on GCP will continue to evolve and provide new and innovative ways for companies to gain insights from their data. As data becomes an increasingly valuable asset for businesses, data lakes on GCP will play a critical role in helping companies to make data-driven decisions and stay competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment.

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Anushkakhatri 27 Feb, 2023

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