Feeds

Where do you store master data?

Questioning the hub-based approach

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Comment At IBM's recent Information on Demand conference (which was excellent, incidentally) the company presented its view of master data management (MDM). I am glad to say that this has advanced significantly since its Barcelona conference in May and the company has now recognised that you need to take a flexible approach to MDM.

The company had already appreciated that MDM needs to be treated holistically rather than as siloed solutions but it has now realised that different companies want to implement MDM for a variety of different reasons.

In Bloor Research's report on MDM, we defined three such categories: analytical MDM, whereby the emphasis is on understanding customers, products, suppliers and so forth; synchronisation, where the focus is on enabling data flow between applications based on unified entity definitions; and operational MDM, where these definitions are to be used as an SOA foundation for introducing new functional capabilities. Of course, some companies may have more than these business drivers underpinning their use of MDM.

IBM has now adopted a similar model although it refers to analytical, operational and collaborative MDM, where the last of these is about promoting collaborative authoring environments and it uses "operational" as a term where we would use "synchronisation".

Alongside this more flexible understanding, the company is also now more aware of the fact that if you are not going to do analytics against your master data then you are unlikely to need a hub-based approach. As a result, IBM is also now being more proactive in explaining how you can use its solutions within a registry or repository-based environment.

So, good marks all round for IBM.

However, this brings me to the title of this article. I suspect that there is a sort of assumption that all master data will be stored within your data warehouse. This view has been fostered by the hub-based approach espoused by the likes of Oracle, SAP and still, to a certain extent, by IBM. But does this approach make sense?

Clearly, if you want to calculate customer lifetime value, for example, then it makes sense to hold the relevant master data in your warehouse, because this is exactly the sort of analytic function for which it was designed. But does this still apply if you only want one of the other styles of MDM? In this case, the only sort of queries you are going to be running against the master data is look-up queries. Moreover, you are probably going to be running a lot of such queries. Is the warehouse the right place to support such functionality?

I am inclined to think that the answer to this question is no. It may be convenient to put master data in the warehouse but I am not sure that this is the most efficient or cost effective way to do this: wouldn't it be better to have a dedicated database optimised for this purpose? Further, if that is a reasonable proposition then, in a scenario that combines analytical MDM with either or both of the other approaches, would it be better to still have a separate MDM server and then replicate that data into the warehouse (or federate it) for analysis rather than simply relying on the warehouse?

I am not saying that I know the answers to these questions but I don't think that this is an issue that has been much discussed, and it needs to be.

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.