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April 20, 2010

Understanding Data Integration in the Cloud Context

Filed under: Data Integration, Data Migration — Tags: , — Olga Belokurskaya @ 2:29 am

Today, cloud providers enable both small companies and enterprises appreciate cost-savings, scalability, and ongoing server support, moving their applications or parts of them to the cloud. However, data integration still remains among the challenges cloud providers and their customers face. According to a number of cloud experts (David Linthicum among others), this occurs due to the fact that data integration in the context of the cloud has not yet been clearly understood and elaborated.

  • Sadly, but data integration seems to be an afterthought for many cloud providers; they do not consider the need companies have for synchronizing data in the cloud with the on-premises sources.
  • Another issue is that there are still no common standards for data integration between different clouds. Companies have different business goals and they may use the services from different cloud providers. So, today, we speak about not just cloud-to-on-premises integration, but cloud-to-cloud integration, as well. Since there are a number of different cloud platforms available today, providers are expected to consider cross-platform integration as soon as possible.

So, in the context of the cloud, data integration means the possibility to integrate and manage data across all on-premises and cloud-based systems a company utilizes. Cloud provider should consider these options and give its customers such a possibility.

September 9, 2009

How Database Synchronization Differs from Other Operational Data Integration Types

Filed under: Database Integration, ETL — Tags: , — Olga Belokurskaya @ 7:47 am

Being a type of operational data integration, data synchronization stays a bit apart from other operational data integration types, such as data consolidations, collocations, migrations, and upgrades.

They differ in terms of the main mechanism of dealing with data in databases.  While migration, consolidation, etc. suppose moving databases (either several databases to a single one, or a database from one system to another), synchronization suggests moving, exchanging data between different databases. The pluses of synchronization include:

  • Leaving database investments and the business processes that depend on them intact
  • Being extremely helpful when managing related databases which are impossible to consolidate (let’s take, for example Salesforce and QuickBooks synchronization).

However, the necessity to have a permanent integration infrastructure for daily data feeds (as it is mentioned in TDWI research), which is costly both in term of initial investments and maintenance, is the main drawback of synchronization.

In terms of tools, ETL is the most popular choice for database synchronization.