SOA requires that you get your data act together

SOA requires that you get your data act together

Summary: The bottom line is that application developers need data access in an automated and simplified manner. Give it to them. Your SOA process architects will thank you later on.

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TOPICS: Data Centers
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Architecture is destiny. As many enterprises (and vendors) are destined for SOA, charting the course -- and identifying the tactical and strategic accelerants -- is the name of the current game.

In a recent well-received blog I provided some business logic for the tag-team of SOA and AJAX. But after a briefing this week with ObjectRiver I'm reminded of another essential methodological ingredient to SOA preparedness. And that is getting your data act together, putting a master data model in place, and managing divergent while parallel paths for your data architecturally.

So embrace ETL and consolidate all that data pooling about your business ecology. Build that data model (no easy trick). And define the future of your data for real-time as well as reports-like uses, such as call-centers. For example, one path for your data strategy is for real-time transactional data integrity (say, for a trading system), and the other path meets the SOA needs of meta data that plays a mounting role in customer-facing and supply chain applications and processes. So there's the data, and the increasingly important data model.

Because of the nature of SOA and event-driven applications, accessing as much data centrally is imperative for applications to attain their full value, hence ETL and data consolidation, along with standards-driven access-distribution (via SDO, ADO, and JDO, among others). The bottom line is that application developers need broad data access in an automated and simplified manner. Give it to them. Your SOA process architects will thank you later on.

That's because the stakes are much higher for the comprehensive and coordinated attainment of data as SOA becomes common. You can't really get to SOA without the data act together. Having a bunch of services and orchestrating them with some independent logic is fine and dandy. But if the comprehensive data on what the services and processes themselves reflect is not available or timely, well ... architecture is a destiny I'd rather not have as a CIO in that instance.

IBM has been on a powerful tear (building, buying, standardizing, and partnering) to make this well-managed data act attainable (industry by industry) for enterprises. Oracle has been conducting a similar drive to specialized data management in its own way: via the higher-level business applications themselves. I was also impressed that IBM is upping the volume on the importance of information (a superset of data).

This shows a huge commitment by IBM to the management of data and information as a tactical and strategic competitive differentiator. The move to optimize data and information (for true knowledge commerce) will make IBM competitive as an IT products and services provider, and it will make IBM's customers more competitive within their vertical industries.

So don't put the SOA cart in front of the meta data horse. If anything err on the side of the data investment. That way your SOA will readily reap the rewards of your hard work in data management and optimization for maximum process efficiency and knowledge commerce.

Topic: Data Centers

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3 comments
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  • Mind the knives

    The trouble is, a standard data model is where entrenched vendors' threat warning radar goes off.

    A wll-known example is what happened to the CIO of Massachusetts when he signed off on the data model for Massachusetts' ETRM -- he's out of a job now.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • One reply? A banner day for the SOA world!

    Come on Dana, you're better than this. Tell your editor you want a new beat. SOA is still a non-starter, as the utter and complete lack of postings on these SOA stories demonstrates.

    Everyone out here in the real world knows that SOA is just a new marketing buzz-word for something we have all been doing with a combination of Object Oriented design and web enabled applications since the 80's. It's just some sales guy's wet-dream of selling more useless junk to a market which ( frankly ) can no longer afford to support such lies and vapor.

    If I sound harsh, I am sorry. We have been burnt so many times by this sort of thing, that I just don't have any patience left for such borderline unethical marketing plans.

    My opinion of SOA aside, I mean what I say about you : I see greatness in your style of writing, if only you could be given something of substance to write about...

    Regards,
    Jon
    JonathonDoe
  • Agree with the Ends, not the Means

    Dana,

    Couldn't agree more that people need to get a good handle on their data before wading into SOA. I esp. agree with this "The bottom line is that application developers need broad data access in an automated and simplified manner."

    But I have a hard time agreeing that ETL is the answer. We don't need a batch oriented database load technology for SOA. We need a loosely coupled, real-time integration technology that can create SOA data subsets on demand - it's called EII.
    Tim_Matthews_Ipedo