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Data Integration

  • Date Submitted: 11/21/2013 11:04 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 21.1 
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DATA INTEGRATION
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Data integration involves combining data residing in different sources and providing users with a unified view of these data. This process becomes significant in a variety of situations, which include both commercial (when two similar companies need to merge their databases and scientific (combining research results from different bioinformatics repositories, for example) domains. Data integration appears with increasing frequency as the volume and the need to share existing data explodes. It has become the focus of extensive theoretical work, and numerous open problems remain unsolved. In management circles, people frequently refer to data integration as "Enterprise Information Integration" EII.

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History

Figure 1: Simple schematic for a data warehouse. The ETL process extracts information from the source databases, transforms it and then loads it into the data warehouse.

Figure 2: Simple schematic for a data-integration solution. A system designer constructs a mediated schema against which users can run queries. The virtual database interfaces with the source databases via wrapper code if required.
Issues with combining heterogeneous data sources under a single query interface have existed for some time. The rapid adoption of databases after the 1960s naturally led to the need to share or to merge existing repositories. This merging can take place at several levels in the database architecture.
One popular solution is implemented based on data warehousing (see figure 1). The warehouse system extracts, transforms, and loads data from heterogeneous sources into a single common queriable schema so data becomes compatible with each other. This approach offers a tightly coupled architecture because the data is already physically reconciled in a single repository at query-time, so it usually takes little time to resolve queries. However,...

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