Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Mike Wood, Mehdi Daoudi, Mark Leake, Todd Matters, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Article

What to Do About the Data Silo Challenge

Using Data Abstraction to Bring Agility to BI and Analytics

Organizations today understand that better access to information assets can improve their bottom-line.

But they struggle with the variety of enterprise, cloud and big data sources, and all their associated access mechanisms, syntax, security, etc.  Further, few data sources are structured properly for business user or application consumption, let alone reuse.  And often the data is incomplete or duplicated.

Data Abstraction Addresses These Challenges
Data abstraction overcomes data source to data consumer incompatibility by transforming data from its native structure and syntax into reusable views and data services that are easy for application developers and business analysts to understand and consume.

Data Abstraction Technology Options
Some data abstraction approaches used today work better than others.

For example, some organizations build data abstraction by hand in Java or use business process management (BPM) tools.  Unfortunately, these are often constrained by brittleness and inefficiencies.  Further, such approaches are not effective for large data sets since they lack the robust federation and query optimization functions required to meet data consumers' rigorous performance demands.

Data warehouse schemas can also provide data abstraction.  Data modeling strategies for dimensions, hierarchies, facts and more are well documented.  Also well understood is the high cost and lack of agility in the data warehousing approach.  Further, data warehouse based schemas don't include the so many new classes of data (big data, cloud data, external data services and more) that reside outside the data warehouse.

Data Virtualization Is a Superior Solution for Data Abstraction
Data virtualization
is an optimal way to implement data abstraction at enterprise scale.  From an enterprise architecture point of view, data virtualization provides a semantic abstraction or data services layer supporting multiple consuming applications.  This middle layer of reusable services decouples the underlying source data and consuming solution layers. This provides the flexibility required to deal with each layer in the most effective manner, as well as the agility to work quickly across layers as applications, schemas or underlying data sources change.

Data Abstraction Reference Architecture
The diagram below outlines the layers that form Composite Software's Data Abstraction Reference Architecture.  Architects and analysts can use as a guide when building a data abstraction layer using Composite's data virtualization platform.  This various layers included in this reference architecture are described in Figure 1.

  • Data Consumers - Client applications want to retrieve data in various formats and protocols. They want to receive the data in a way that they understand. Data abstraction allows the consumers to format the data according to their specifications and deliver over various transport protocols including: Web Services, REST, JDBC and Java clients.
  • Application Layer - The "Application Layer" serves to map the Business Layer into the format which each application data consumer wants to see. It might mean formatting into XML for Web services or creating views with different alias names that match the way the consumers are used to seeing their data.
  • Business Layer - The "Business Layer" is predicated on the idea that the business has a standard or canonical way to describing key business entities such as customers and products. In the financial industry, one often accesses information according to financial instruments and issuers amongst many other entities. Typically, a data modeler would work with business experts and data providers to define a set of "logical" or "canonical" views that represent these business entities. These views are reusable components that can and should be used across business lines by multiple consumers.
  • Physical Layer - The "Physical Layer" provides access to underlying data sources and performs a physical to logical mapping.
    • The "Physical Metadata" is essentially imported from the physical data sources and used as way to onboard the metadata required by the data abstraction layer to perform its mapping functions. As an "as-is" layer, entity names and attributes are never changed in this layer.
    • The "Formatting Views" provide a way to map the physical metadata by aliasing the physical names to logical names. Additionally the formatting views can facilitate simple tasks such as value formatting, data type casting, derived columns and light data quality mapping. This layer is derived from the physical sources and performs a one-to-one mapping between the physical source attributes and their corresponding "logical/canonical" attribute name. This layer serves as a buffer between the physical source and the logical business layer views. Naming conventions are very important and introduced in this layer.
  • Data Sources -The data sources are the physical information assets that exist within and without an organization. These assets may be databases, packaged applications such as SAP, Web services, Excel spreadsheets and more.

Summary of Key Benefits
Data abstraction bridges the gap between business needs and source data's original form. This best practice implementation of data virtualization provides the following benefits:

  • Simplify information access - Bridge business and IT terminology and technology so both can succeed.
  • Common business view of the data - Gain agility, efficiency and reuse across applications via an enterprise information model or "Canonical" model.
  • More accurate data - Consistently apply data quality and validation rules across all data sources.
  • More secure data - Consistently apply data security rules across all data sources and consumers via a unified security framework.
  • End-to-end control - Use a data virtualization platform to consistently manage data access and delivery across multiple sources and consumers.
  • Business and IT change insulation - Insulate consuming applications and users from changes in the source and vice versa. Business users and pplications developers work with a more stable view of the data. IT can make ongoing changes and relocation of physical data sources without impacting information users.

More Stories By Robert Eve

Robert Eve is the EVP of Marketing at Composite Software, the data virtualization gold standard and co-author of Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility. Bob's experience includes executive level roles at leading enterprise software companies such as Mercury Interactive, PeopleSoft, and Oracle. Bob holds a Masters of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.