Friday, August 14, 2015

Some People Just Don't Get Data Virtualization

“But where’s the data?”  Terri-the-architect, as she was often called, had definitely been around the block, and had plenty of successes under her belt. She grew up in the halcyon days of the data warehouse, proudly touting star schemas and cubes to anyone who would listen. As it became drudgery, she carried the mantle as it got heavier and heavier. Poor Terri is clearly still buried in the heavy-duty design, extension, and redesign of the massive data warehouse model. And she’s ETL-ing all over the place, which is always a messy proposition.  She often longed to be back in the days when she was working with the very latest technologies.
Marvin-the millennial, who was tagging along, nudged Jerry-the-Gen-Xer, trying not to emit a guffaw. Both quickly busied themselves on their cell phones. When they recovered their composure, Marvin tried an explanation. “It’s a little like a hologram. It looks and acts like it’s there, but in reality it’s only an illusion.”

Terri was frantically scanning the network to see where the database was. “Better not be up there in the cloud! You know that’s sensitive data we’re working with. No, you’re better off loading it into the data warehouse.  I can arrange for a team to get that done for you. We’ll even expedite the project, so you could have it in, say eight weeks.”
“Snicker, snicker.”

“Oh, good timing,” said Terri, “I was having my afternoon chocolate attack.” She stood up and walked all the way around her computer, even underneath it. “Ok, guys, where did you stash the data?” Clearly she was getting distraught. “Come on, is this some kind of a trick?"

“Hmm..Yes. Maybe Magic?” proposed Jerry. Marvin turned his back and madly double-thumbed his cell. His shoulders and head were shaking as he laughed silently.

“Ok. Here’s the scoop,” said Marvin.  Marvin was a self-proclaimed data scientist, and most people would agree that it fits his expertise.  He walked over to his cube and pulled up his latest analysis that he had set up in Spotfire. “Until a couple of weeks ago, the way we did this was that we had IT pull data from the data warehouse into a SQL database, and add the data from two or three other data sources. They set up something that ran every week to update all the data for me.”

“You’re talking about the ETL scripts that keep the data fresh,” Terri interrupted.  “But now there’s no database, and it looks like the ETL scripts aren’t anywhere either.” 

Marvin continued, “See this is data from SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, and even live data from the plant. I can make it sing and dance in Spotfire, without waiting a week to get new data. It’s always the latest and greatest!”  

Jerry added, “Yep, we bought this agile integration software called Enterprise Enabler® that does what’s called Data Virtualization.”

Terri interrupted Jerry before he could say any more. “Oh, so it IS in the cloud. You’ve virtualized the data warehouse into the cloud. Can’t do that. See what happens when I take a vacation? Everything goes caty-wampus!”

“Calm down, Terri. Let me finish. The data is NOT in the cloud at all. Enterprise Enabler grabs the data as it is needed directly from the sources. No data warehouse or database needed. It aligns it, and resolves Spotfire’s queries and returns it essentially to the display. No copies and no data moving anywhere.”

“Well, my word!” Terri exclaimed. “I’ve never seen anything like this before. Must take a lot of programming to get that to work.”

"That’s another cool thing, Terri," exclaimed Jerry. "Stone Bond’s Enterprise Enabler is a single platform that you use to configure these “virtual models,” and it stores all of the configuration as metadata. Again, no data is stored, unless, of course, you need to cache part of the data for a bit so as not to bring SAP to its knees. That’s configurable, too and we did it in two weeks.”
Terri seemed confused. “No, But where's the CODE? There HAS to be programming involved!"

Marvin and Jerry in unison, “Nope.”   Both exit stage left.

Terri sits down, exhausted. She knows she hasn’t kept up with the newest technologies, and she really misses the thrill of making successes out of them. She drifts off…

No one really knows what happened to Terri. She just disappeared. No one heard from her again.  But there were rumors of sightings late at night of a ghost-like lady with very white hair, madly searching the networks and mumbling something like, “Yoohoo! Code! Wheere aare yoooou? I’ll find you sooner or later.”
She awakes with a start. “Some people just don’t get it. No, Terri-the-architect is not going to disappear like that. Not me! So, where’s the documentation, so I can get started?”

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