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VirtualizationData IntegrationAbstraction 6 Aug 2007 8:23 PM
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Data Virtualization & Data Abstraction by billm

With VMware's pending IPO, virtualization, a hot topic in IT for some time now, has gotten even hotter. See this from today's San Jose Mercury News; "An initial public offering later this summer will highlight a transforming technology - virtualization - expected to become a $20 billion industry in a few years."

While VMware is the king of server virtualization, there are many other IT assets than can and should be made more productive through the agility offered from virtualization. In fact, SOA is all about virtualization of software functions.

There is nothing more valuable to businesses today than information, and there is nothing that could provide greater productive benefit than making data, and access to it, "virtual".

Virtualizing data requires a software layer tha hides the complexity of data access from applications, business processes, and users. In an ideal world there would be just one big corporate data store where all information is stored and managed centrally. In the real world there are nearly as many data stores as there are applications and business partners. Data virtualization can make all of these data stores available to applications, business processes, and users while hiding the complexity of having every application deal uniquely with every data source. The data virtualization layer deals with the locations, the differing schemas and semantics, and the rules of accessing many disparate data stores so that applications can deal with only one "virtual" data store.

As discussed in Burnham's Beat, data virtualization can also reduce the temptation for new applications to create new data stores; thereby reducing the proliferation of redundant and expensive infrastructure and containing the data consistency problem. (Note that Bill Burnham talks about "data abstraction" rather then "data virtualization". These terms mean the same thing. Please add that to your semantic map.)

Virtualization is hot for good reason; it is creating value from better and more productive use of IT assets. Data is the most valuable of IT assets. Look for data to be the next big thing in virtualization.

Bill Miller



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