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February 20, 2007

A Discussion on Data Virtualization

Had a good conversation with Stephen Hayward of ProjectX around data virtualization. Stephen did a good job summarizing the discussion and providing some background, which you can see in this entry. Or go right to the podcast.

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 6:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

SOA and Metadata: Is Loose Coupling a Loose Cannon?

I was just reading Joe McKendrick's So much metadata, so little time post. It reminded me of a conversation I had last week with some IT folks at a large insurance vendor.

While Joe is really addressing the SOA Registry/Repository gap, my customers are looking at things a little differently. You could use the same title, but their metadata issue is a bit different - it takes forever to find what they need (data locations, definitions) today and they are afraid SOA will make things worse. Companies want the architectural and development efficiency SOA brings. It's just that they know it will complicate the whole metadata problem.

Read on.

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 7:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 5, 2007

What Does Data Temperature Mean, and What's It Got to do with Data Virtualization?

I was reading a post from Dan Linstedt from last year on the temperature of data. This is a very interesting concept, and so intuitive I wondered why I had never heard it before.

I just wrote up the idea of the link between data temperature and data virtualization. You can see the whole entry here

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 6:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2006

Data Mashups

Recently, I've been wrestling with the term "data mashup." I think by now we all know what a Web mashup is, or at least have seen an example using Google Maps. But I've heard the term data mashup mentioned a few times in conversation, and I'm wondering if it really means something or is just redundant. I'm leaning toward the former.

Starting off at Wikipedia, the definition of mashup includes a breakdown into three categories: mapping mashups (a la Google), photo and video mashups (a la Flikr), and enterprise mashups (aka clever stuff you do inside your enterprise). This definition is arguably incomplete (where does fit), and typical of Wikipedia (which is more to do with zeitgeist than exactitude), but useful for my purposes. Enterprise mashups seem to be the place where data mashing would be most useful.

Wikipedia goes on to define an enterprise mashup as:

Within enterprises, mashups provide a easy way to visualize data that is spread across the enterprise. Technologies like AJAX have made it easy to build rich and powerful clients by bringing together data from inside and outside enterprises.

To help understand what kinds of data an enterprise might combine and for what purpose, let me give you a few examples we've been kicking around here at Ipedo. One customer wants to combine data from with existing customer data in Siebel and display it in a Web dashboard. A partner we spoke to wants to cull news about prospects fom RSS feeds and pump it into - something for the inside sales rep to chat about when cold calling. BusinessWeek's Rob Hof writes about news mashing in his blog. Still another prospect wants weather and market data from the Web combined with internal statistical data to (potentially) gain an edge trading commodities.

Kind of makes sense, but what I'm still wondering is how that's different from another term: data integration. Is it just a Web 2.0 recasting? If I don't program in AJAX or plot my data on a Google Map, is it still a mashup? Or is it just when you start combining external data in XML with internal relational data that it qualifies?

I think Sho Kuwamoto gets it when he writes in a recent post, "Nowadays, there's a lot of talk about Web 2.0, web mashups, AJAX, etc., which in my mind are all facets of the same phenomenon: that information and presentation are being separated in ways that allow for novel forms of reuse."

It's not the use of AJAX per se, it's the separation of data and presentation, with the easily portable data format XML. Kind of reminds me of client/server all over again, but that seems like it was 100 B.C., and definitely uncool to bring up in the company of Web 2.0.

Or maybe the word "mashup" will replace the word "integration" over time, as I thought when I saw this use of the word in James Governor's MonkChips: "There is a new spirit of pragmatism at work in the industry and we're going to see more mashups of API and development styles." Kind of connotes a force-fit combinationan integration hack, if you like.

Will the term data mashup stick? To be determined. Will enterprises become more and more interested in mashing together data from inside and outside the firewall, and in different formats? Absolutely. They will have to, since that's the direction in which their data is headed. Which is why I'm happy that Ipedo has an integration technology that combines (mashes?) a SQL engine for relational data with an XQuery engine for XML data.

In any case, something's going on. Whispering "data mashup" at a cocktail party here in Silicon Valley is almost guaranteed to bring on a EF Hutton moment (Now I'm dating myself - look it up on Google if you don't get it.)

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2006

Data Governance Meets SOA Governance Meets Data Services - A Few Thoughts

Unless you have been on an extended ski vacation, you've probably been seeing quite a bit written about governance recently. Governance. A nice word. It's worked its way down from the board room to the server room. And now we have several different kinds of governance in IT: IT Governance, SOA Governance, and Data Governance.

Ipedo plays a role in all three: as a federator collecting system data for IT Governance, as an XML-oriented query and federation engine in SOA Governance, and as a facilitator of data integration, delivery and security in Data Governance.

SOA Governance, in particular, is red hot right now, esp. since one of our customers Systinet got acquired by Mercury recently. Now all the SOA ecosystem is talking about how they deliver SOA Governance.

Which got me wondering, trying to connect a few dots in our EII world, which is at the confluence of data integration and SOA. A data/services/governance mashup, if you will.

Given that a) Data Governance is how you control the correctness, accessability, and security of your organization's data, and b) SOA Governance is how you manage the development, accessibility, security and lifecycle of your SOA, and c) Data Services is how you take your corporate data and service-enable it, I started wondering the relationship between Data Governance and SOA Governance in an SOA.

Once you have all of your data available as a service, is there a Data Governance component of SOA Governance? It seems like SOA opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. Not that you want to use SOAP to wrap and communicate with all of your corporate databases (as I wrote about in an SOA Journal article), but for the information you want delivered via a Web Service, you could call a set of Data Services that a) make sure the data is correct (aka data quality), b) make sure it's accessible via presentation in the right schema, and c) the proper security checks are in place before it's delivered.

It will be interesting to see how things shape up. Where Data Governance seems somewhat lacking is in the protocol/specification area. SOA has an embarrassment of riches here, while Data Governance has to settle for process and metadata. Now, access to data and restrictions thereto are exactly what Data Governance is all about, and with companies spending so much of their IT dollars to comply with SOX, Basel II et al, Data Governance could add a lot. James Governor writes about the interesting idea of Compliance SOA = COA. Dan Linstedt has also written a lot about it on the pro version of B-Eye blogs.

We'll see how things evolve. It might not be too far off that EII uses SOA to govern the federation...

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 4:30 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2005

2005 EII Survey - Last Call

We're almost triple our response from last year, but we'd like to get as much input as possible.

In return for taking the survey (5-10 minutes) you'll get a copy of the best practices survey results (And the only way you get this report is by taking the survey.).

Here's the link

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 3:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 24, 2005

EII Crash Course - A Syllabus

So you're new to EII, you say? Don't want to be out-talked at the water cooler? Fear not. Here's a crash course to get you all learned up.

First, sticking close to home, a few blog entries you should read from Dan Linstedt (and this one, too) and Colin White.

The you might want to venture out to a few of the usual trade pubs. Here are some good articles I've found. Neil Raden surveyed the integration landscape in the December 2004 Intelligent Enterprise. Greg Mancuso and Al Moreno from Sinecon wrote an excellent overview of available integration strategies in this April's DM Review. Curt Hall from the Cutter Consortium wrote an excellent piece on the fit between EII and Data Warehousing in May.

Then a few pieces we've put together at Ipedo: "The Guide to Enteprise Information Integration" and "Determining Financial Returns on Enterprise Information Integration." There's a lot more stuff in the EII Zone.

If you feel good about all that and are ready to wade into the technical stuff, check out Srinivas Pandrangi's blog The EII Files.

If you can groc all that, then you are among the EII literate and ready to move on to some more detailed stuff. We'll save that for another entry.

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Posted by Tim Matthews at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 17, 2005

EII and McDonalds?

As I sit down to write this first entry, I am reminded of the speaker who tears up his prepared remarks in favor of off-the-cuff comments. How does that expression go, 'Even the best of intentions...'

EII is quite a hot topic these days, especially in the areas of business intelligence and reporting. To understand it, we must take a step back, look at the technology, and compare it to technologies perhaps more familiar in the BI world - like ETL.

Which was where I had intended to begin with EII Talk. But then something came along that just could not be ignored. A posting from of my colleagues that was fresh as the smell of bacon in the morning.

So we'll begin in the middle, using his analogy to understand how EII platforms deal with performance and scalability, two common questions/objections that always come up in an EII sale. Here's how it begins:

The other day, over lunch, I was trying to explain to a technology executive in another industry some of Ipedo’s advantages in EII. Inspired by our fast food surroundings, I came up with several analogies that might help explain (1) cost-based query optimization vs. rule-based optimization, (2) policy-based caching and automatic cache invalidation, and (3) concurrency. These are three key areas that affect EII performance, and ones in which Ipedo excels among EII vendors.

Read on about 'McEII - Cost-based Optimization, Caching, Concurrency, and the Big Mac.'

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Posted by at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)