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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Enter the 'Data Service Mashup'

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We've talked quite a bit here and throughout the ebizQ-sphere about the convergence between SOA and enterprise data management, and how services can be employed to source and leverage data for various analytics.

In a new interview with Michael Meehan, Kirstan Vandersluis, founder and chief scientist for XAware Inc., directs the discussion to a new type of service emerging -- the "data service mashup." As the name suggests, he is talking about employing lightweight Web 2.0 methodologies to build front-end apps that pull needed data into a dynamic presentation for the business end user.

But it's a lot more than the on-the-fly Google Maps-style mashups we've been seeing in recent times. As Vandersluis describes it, a data services mashup is "a mashup in terms of pulling data from multiple sources into a logical unit. So it's a mashup in terms of data. It's not a visual mashup. That's a whole different ballgame. We're pulling data from virtually anywhere into a logical unit. We're trying to take a bunch of back-end data systems, which are typically very complex, and make it look like something much more rationalized in terms of an XML Schema that somebody put some thought into designing."

The model Vandersluis is proposing is built around an XML schema. He notes that "the applications are relying on the contract, which is defined by the XML schema."

Data services mashups may work in conjunction with, or even serve as an alternative to data warehouses and data marts in some situations, Vandersluis also said. "It's just a different way to do things and there are trade offs.... The one benefit to our approach is it's all real-time. We're sending the sub-queries out in real-time to whatever systems you want."

So if initially you pointed all your data services at your data warehouse, and you find out later that's not real-time enough, you can change the data sets that are being mashed up, so one of them hits an operational data source.

Vandersluis and other data service mashup proponents have their work cut out for them. Understanding and adoption at the business level has been "spotty" to date, Vandersluis observes. "I think it's more a matter of how well they understand service-oriented architecture, which is the typical use case of a data services layer."

Organizations that are embracing SOA are more likely to be early adopters of data services mashups, he says. In addition, there is impetus at sites developing rich Internet applications. Such Web 2.0-ish are more likely to see a large volume of services, versus the more centralized and business-focused services that will be part of SOA.




Thanks for your post. For the record, Kirstan Vandersluis is a "he", not a "she". You can find his bio at http://www.xaware.org/blogs/kvandersluis.html

Bill Miller, XAware.org


Bill: Thanks for the clarification. Changes noted!

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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