Monday, February 28, 2011

The Power and Flexibility of Data Federation and Virtualization Together

Finally, the world seems ready to take data federation and virtualization seriously. The power of each is, and has historically been, severely limited by the absence of the other in the same product. Using data virtualization means that you can switch out the underlying data and where it comes from without changing the actual integration layer, but rather by just redefining the metadata. That definitely adds flexibility to a company’s underlying infrastructure. Federating data means that you can bring data from multiple sources, combine them into a single data set or view, and let users and applications consume it without having to stage it. That eliminates the overhead of defining, implementing, and maintaining a data store. Combining the two, along with a robust transformation engine, in a single execution, adds orders of magnitude improvement in the agility of the overall IT infrastructure.

It seems to me that this is a very good time for IT decision makers to start aggressively implementing these combined capabilities throughout their organizations. Data warehouses have come of age, maybe have even reached "a certain age" status, and are carrying the ballast of years of data, maintenance, and accommodation of change. Streamlining and speeding up can only done by more computing power and better access algorithms and tools: new forklifts. Meanwhile, to remain competitive, the company must be able to rapidly deliver information quickly and appropriately wherever it is needed.

It's essential that the core IT department management and corporate executives not leave the flexibility to the "Shadow IT" that comes of desperation from the business and operations people who cannot wait and deal with the front lines of delivering the company's activity and daily business decisions.

With Agile Integration Software, the IT department could quickly deliver flexible, maintainable layer that interacts with everything that is already in place, but that steps up to the plate with agility. Please check out my white paper on Data Federation and Virtualization.

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