Click here to close now.



Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Automic Blog, Elizabeth White, Flint Brenton, William Schmarzo, Greg O'Connor

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

How Data Virtualization Improves Business Agility – Part 2

Accelerate value with a streamlined, iterative approach that evolves easily

Business Agility Requires Multiple Approaches
Agile businesses create business agility through a combination of business decision agility, time-to-solution agility and resource agility.

This article addresses how data virtualization delivers time-to-solution agility. Part 1 addressed business decision agility and Part 3 will address resource agility.

Time-To-Solution Agility = Business Value
When responding to new information needs, rapid time-to-solution is critically important and often results in significant bottom-line benefits.

Proven, time and again across multiple industries, substantial time-to-solution improvements can be seen in the ten case studies described in the recently published Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility.

Consider This Example: If the business wants to enter a new market, it must first financially justify the investment, including any new IT requirements. Thus, only the highest ROI projects are approved and funded. Once the effort is approved, accelerating delivery of the IT solution also accelerates realization of the business benefits and ROI.

Therefore, if incremental revenues from the new market are $2 million per month, then the business will gain an additional $2 million for every month IT can save in time needed to deliver the solution.

Streamlined Approach to Data Integration
Data virtualization is significantly more agile and responsive than traditional data consolidation and ETL-based integration approaches because it uses a highly streamlined architecture and development process to build and deploy data integration solutions.

This approach greatly reduces complexity and reduces or eliminates the need for data replication and data movement. As numerous data virtualization case studies demonstrate, this elegance of design and architecture makes it far easier and faster to develop and deploy data integration solutions using a data virtualization platform. The ultimate result is faster realization of business benefits.

To better understand the difference, let's contrast these methods. In both the traditional data warehouse/ETL approach and data virtualization, understanding the information requirements and reporting schema is the common first step.

Traditional Data Integration Has Many Moving Parts
Using the traditional approach IT then models and implements the data warehouse schema. ETL development follows to create the links between the sources and the warehouse. Finally the ETL scripts are run to populate the warehouse. The metadata, data models/schemas and development tools used within each activity are unique to each activity.

This diverse environment of different metadata, data models/schemas and development tools is not only complex but also results in the need to coordinate and synchronize efforts and objects across them.

Experienced BI and data integration users will readily acknowledge the long development times that result from this complexity, including Forrester Research in its 2011 report Data Virtualization Reaches Critical Mass.

"Extract, transform, and load (ETL) approaches require one or more copies of data staged along the physical integration process flow. Creating, storing, and manipulating these copies can be complex and error prone."

Data Virtualization Has Fewer Moving Parts
Data virtualization uses a more streamlined architecture that simplifies development. Once the information requirements and reporting schema are understood, the next step is to develop the objects (views and data services) used to both model and query the required data.

These virtual equivalents of the warehouse schema and ETL routines and scripts are created within a single view or data service object using a unified data virtualization development environment. This approach leverages the same metadata, data models/schemas and tools.

Not only is it easier to build the data integration layer using data virtualization, but there are also fewer "moving parts," which reduces the need for coordination and synchronization activities. With data virtualization, there is no need to physically migrate data from the sources to a warehouse. The only data that is moved is the data delivered directly from the source to the consumer on-demand. These result sets persist in the data virtualization server's memory for only a short interval.

Avoiding data warehouse loads, reloads and updates further simplifies and streamlines solution deployment and thereby improves time-to-solution agility.

Iterative Development Process Is Better for Business Users
Another way data virtualization improves time-to-solution agility is through support for a fast, iterative development approach. Here, business users and IT collaborate to quickly define the initial solution requirements followed by an iterative "develop, get feedback and refine" process until the solution meets the user need.

Most users prefer this type of development process. Because building views of existing data is simple and fast, IT can provide business users with prospective versions of new data sets in just a few hours. The user doesn't have to wait months for results while IT develops detailed solution requirements. Then business users can react to these data sets and refine their requirements based on the tangible insights. IT can then change the views and show the refined data sets to the business users.

This iterative development approach enables the business and IT to hone in on and deliver the needed information much faster than traditional integration methods.

Even in cases where a data warehouse solution is mandated by specific analytic needs, data virtualization can be used to support rapid prototyping of the solution. The initial solution is built using data virtualization's iterative development approach, with migration to the data warehouse approach once the business is fully satisfied with the information delivered.

In contrast, developing a new information solution using traditional data integration architecture is inherently more complex. Typically, business users must fully and accurately specify their information requirements prior to any development, with little change tolerated. Not only does the development process take longer, but there is a real risk that the resulting solution will not be what the users actually need and want.

Data virtualization offers significant value, and the opportunity to reduce risk and cost, by enabling IT to quickly deliver iterative results that enable users to truly understand what their real information needs are and get a solution that meets those needs.

Ease of Data Virtualization Change Keeps Pace with Business Change
The third way data virtualization improves time-to-solution agility is ease of change. Information needs evolve. So do the associated source systems and consuming applications. Data virtualization allows a more loosely coupled architecture between sources, consumers and the data virtualization objects and middleware that integrate them.

This level of independence makes it significantly easier to extend and adapt existing data virtualization solutions as business requirements or associated source and consumer system implementations change. In fact, changing an existing view, adding a new source or migrating from one source to another is often completed in hours or days, versus weeks or months in the traditional approach.

Conclusion
Data virtualization reduces complexity, data replication and data movement. Business users and IT collaborate to quickly define the initial solution requirements followed by an iterative "develop, get feedback and refine" delivery process. Further independent layers make it significantly easier to extend and adapt existing data virtualization solutions as business requirements or associated source and consumer system implementations change.

These time-to-solution accelerators, as numerous data virtualization case studies demonstrate, make it far easier and faster to develop and deploy data integration solutions using a data virtualization platform than other approaches. The result is faster realization of business benefits.

Editor's Note: Robert Eve is the co-author, along with Judith R. Davis, of Data Virtualization: Going Beyond Traditional Data Integration to Achieve Business Agility, the first book published on the topic of data virtualization. This series of three articles on How Data Virtualization Delivers Business Agility includes excerpts from the book.

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.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...