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Data Services – The Silver Bullet for SOA’s Data Integration Pitfalls

In the post “SOA’s Last Mile Part III: How to Address SOA’s Hidden Data-Centric Pitfalls Effectively,” David Lyle spoke about some high-level approaches to handling the data-centric pitfalls in an SOA.

I would like to introduce you to the solution…what I call data services, a flexible and cost-effective technology that can be the cornerstone of an SOA and EIM strategy by simplifying the complexity of both integrating diverse enterprise data that exists in individual silos as well as delivering a single, accurate and consistent view of all enterprise information, at the speed of business.

Call it Information-As-A-Service, call it IaaS, call it information integration services or simply call it data services. What I am talking about is a flexible and standards-based technology built on a sophisticated and scalable data integration platform that can prove to be the cornerstone for complex enterprise integration infrastructures.

Figure – A Data Services Enabled Data Abstraction Layer
Click to Enlarge

As we can see in the figure, a data services technology can provide a model and standards-based re-usable data abstraction layer that can make holistic, accurate and timely information available to an enterprise integration infrastructure, without all the typical complexity and maintenance costs.

More specifically, a data service is a modular, reusable, business-relevant service that enables the access, integration, and delivery of complex enterprise data throughout the enterprise and across corporate firewalls in what’s known as “right time”—in batch, near real-time and real-time modes, including federation.

Additionally, with a suitable data services technology, IT organizations can also look to orchestrate or sequence individual data services to create more granular combinations in order to support the entire data integration lifecycle.

In a recent blog post titled “Is SOA an elixir or real fix for ‘medieval’ data practices?” Joe McKendrick states that “SOA alone can’t assure that data is of the highest quality, or is consistent.”  In my opinion, the greatest challenge enterprises looking to go down the SOA path face is ensuring the quality of the data that becomes accessible as a result of SOA. Enterprise data is extremely complex – it’s about volume, latency, and many formats. It requires that as part of SOA, data be treated as a strategic enterprise asset that addresses the various data integration challenges.

I believe that the way to accomplish this purposing of enterprise data assets within a SOA environment is through the delivery of “Data Services,” or what is also called Information-as-a-Service.

I look forward to hearing from you about your experiences in dealing with data-centric pitfalls in an SOA and the solutions you came up with to address these pitfalls.

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One Response to Data Services – The Silver Bullet for SOA’s Data Integration Pitfalls

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