Tag Archives: Data Abstraction Layer

Rethinking Data Virtualization

I’m looking forward to doing a Webinar on data virtualization this Thursday, April 22nd.  Why?  Because this is the single most beneficial concept of architecture, including SOA, and it’s often overlooked by the rank-and-file developers and architects out there.  I’m constantly evangelizing the benefits of data virtualization, including integrating data from many and different data sources in real-time, and enabling query-based applications to get data from multiple systems.

The idea is pretty simple, really.  Considering that there are many physical database schemas within most enterprises, and typically no common view of the data, data virtualization allows you to map many physical schemas to virtual schemas that are a better representation of the business.  For example, a single view of customer data, sales data, and other data that has the same logical meaning, but may be scattered amongst many different physical database systems, using any number of implementation models. (more…)

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Posted in Data Integration, SOA | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Data and Processes are Intertwined!

In one of my earlier posts I discussed the need for a sophisticated data services-driven technology serving as the foundation for SOA and BPM.

When I was poking around the web recently, I ran into a powerful statement by Michael Blechar from Gartner, covered in the DAMA keynote, titled Survival of the Data Management Fittest:

“Data and processes are intertwined. It will fundamentally change the way organizations think about your roles, and your roles are going to need to evolve”.

At this year’s Data Management Association (DAMA) International Symposium,
Michael is quoted saying that:

“In this world there’s a very loosely coupled user interface from the assembled services that in turn share access to data. SOA exposes data issues to more people, places and processes, and what I tell companies is that without a focus on information management and meta data management they’re going to fail.”

It is in speaking to numerous customers, prospects and technologists that I had gathered that without accurate, consistent and timely information, SOA and BPM deployments will face serious information-centric hurdles, affecting the cost-effectiveness and success of the project. As we move towards more agile architectures, I believe that we need to grow typical process-centric approaches to include information centricity as well.

As Michael states:

“Where we are going is beyond the first generation of BPM and SOA [that is process-centric],” he said, “to the next generation of SOA that is information-centric.”

Observe that the key word here is “information-centric.” Reading such statements from Michael and many others definitely validates the strategy I have been defining for building out an effective IT infrastructure that can benefit from the flexibility of a services and process-driven approach, in the data integration layer. Simply wrapping data access with a web service does not qualify as a sophisticated data service and hence, stringing together such simple services with a BPM tool also does not guarantee agility.

As discussed in Services to Orient your Enterprise Data Layer, Joe McKendrick is of the opinion that neither SOA nor enterprise-application integration alone can effectively handle the enterprise data layer. However, data services delivered within an SOA framework can create a data-abstraction layer to address the complexities seen across enterprise data environments.

I have always said that without serving up good quality, consistent and timely information as a data service or a comprehensive data service built using a sophisticated data integration platform, SOA and BPM deployments will not be able to deliver on their promise of agility.

What are your experiences? What kind of information-centric issues have you run into in your service-oriented deployments? Is inaccurate, stale and inconsistent information passing through your IT infrastructure holding you back?

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Cloud Computing, Data Services, Data Warehousing, Enterprise Data Management, Integration Competency Centers, Operational Efficiency, Real-Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment