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ODH and the Future of Data Integration

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3 minute read
Back to blog
3 minute read

We’ve talked a lot about data integration mistakes of the past and how the ODH can help solve those challenges.

But if technology has taught us anything, it’s that innovation is always right around the corner. And, we’ve also learned that innovation can sometimes lead to potential unintended outcomes.

Consequences of the “Next Big Thing”

As an example, when the big data hype cycle had its moment, it promised to unlock the power trapped inside enterprise data by merely loading huge volumes of it into giant data lakes.

We have now learned that the results have been mixed at best. It’s not that the data lakes didn’t address some issues, it’s that in the oftentimes blind rush to use newer (yet untested) technologies, critical aspects of solving data integration issues went ignored—security, governance, operational capabilities—resulting in many more problems being created.

As that data hype cycle fades, there are nonetheless other significant industry shifts that some may look toward as the potential “next big thing” to help make some of their data integration pains go away. Some of these trends are well- established and have been validated within certain contexts (e.g., cloud) while others are still finding their footing (e.g., blockchain), yet all are tempting places to look when confronted with seemingly difficult problems associated with the status quo.

After all, it’s much more fun to look at new things than it is to toil with the same old seemingly unsolvable problems.

When it comes to trends in general—whether they’re established, unproven or somewhere in between—they all have the potential for misapplication and/or distraction from core challenges such as those associated with data integration. And while it can be difficult to predict how unintended consequences might manifest as a result of technical innovation, there is one question to ask when considering any new technology innovation: “What’s the impact on the data?”

To some, such a question may sound trite or simply be viewed as part of a larger checklist of items to consider. The reality is that data has always been the most important topic of consideration for IT. In fact, it can be argued that turning data into meaningful information—and action—is IT’s sole purpose.

ODH and Recent Innovations

From this lens, we should, therefore, expect that any IT innovation must have a net positive impact on the overall data mission, all the while minimizing chances of technical debt.

This is why the ODH is such an important architectural construct.

As a key component of enterprise-wide data interchange, it provides a solid foundation for protecting against technical debt while maximizing the potential of nearly any enterprise IT innovation that has the potential to impact data at an enterprise scale.

Here are two examples:

Cloud technologies – Although these remove a lot of friction associated with provisioning infrastructure and services, adopting them does not make challenges associated with data integration simply “disappear into the cloud.” In fact, if a proactive data integration strategy does not accompany a cloud strategy, a move to the cloud can accelerate some of the many problems that contribute to data silo creation in the first place. In other words, faster application creation can also translate into faster silo creation and even more data integration headaches.

Our advice: When adopting a cloud strategy, an ODH should be part of that strategy as well.

Blockchain – This is another technology that promises to be a game-changer. And, like other newer and promising technologies, it is accompanied by the capacity to monopolize focus, leaving open the possibility for less-exciting, yet critical functions to be ignored by blockchain implementers. Thus, the possibility exists for unintended consequences to result from blockchain implementations.

For example, security is one area that should be top of mind, thanks in no large part to some well-publicized digital currency breaches. As these breaches painfully demonstrated, a blockchain implementation is only as secure as its weakest link. Since all blockchain implementations at some point invariably interact with non-blockchain databases, when those non-blockchain databases are not secure or ACID compliant, the results can be disastrous. Thus, an ODH, with the ability to harmonize and govern data from all parts of the enterprise, would be a key enabling feature of any blockchain strategy.

ODH Is the Answer

These examples of more recent innovations point to the need for a fundamental shift in how enterprise data is managed. In this regard, the ODH represents a foundational component to enterprise data strategy modernization.

Want to LEARN more about the power of an ODH? Download our ebook, Introducing the Operational Data Hub, and read up on how this pattern can leverage your IT efforts.

Kate Ranta

Kate Ranta is a Solutions Marketing Manager at MarkLogic. She is a communications and marketing professional with a focus on digital content strategy, inbound marketing, social media campaign management, SEO, and project management.

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