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Rick van der Lans

Welcome to my blog where I will talk about a variety of topics related to data warehousing, business intelligence, application integration, and database technology. Currently my special interests include data virtualization, NoSQL technology, and service-oriented architectures. If there are any topics you'd like me to address, send them to me at rick@r20.nl.

About the author >

Rick is an independent consultant, speaker and author, specializing in data warehousing, business intelligence, database technology and data virtualization. He is managing director and founder of R20/Consultancy. An internationally acclaimed speaker who has lectured worldwide for the last 25 years, he is the chairman of the successful annual European Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence Conference held annually in London. In the summer of 2012 he published his new book Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems. He is also the author of one of the most successful books on SQL, the popular Introduction to SQL, which is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, Italian and German. He has written many white papers for various software vendors. Rick can be contacted by sending an email to rick@r20.nl.

Editor's Note: Rick's blog and more articles can be accessed through his BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel.

On October 6, 2011 Informatica organized a virtual conference on data virtualization; see http://bit.ly/puyGZ6. During the live event, attendees took part in various polls and competitions. In one case they were asked to describe what they would choose as their first project for using data virtualization in their organization. As the judge for the competitions, I was fascinated by the results that came in. In a nutshell, these attendees were spot on, they were picking the right projects, they had the right arguments for selecting those projects, and they clearly understood the full potential of data virtualization.


Here are some of the statements they made - paraphrased to respect sensitive customer information:


  • "With data virtualization, analyst teams can gain quick access to data, profile data, and develop prototypes together with the business to finalize requirements before development."
  • "We are starting to bring in a host of external data to supplement our internal data warehouse. There is often a fair amount of uncertainty of the utility of the information upfront until some amount of BI exploration is complete. To improve the time to market, I would consider tools like data virtualization to be able to provide that information quickly, and hold off on any real data warehouse integration until utility of the data is proven."
  • "We have a data warehouse that lags data by a day or more for exposing key data to our customers. By speeding up the delivery of information to our customers, they can respond more quickly..."


These quotes show that data virtualization is being applied for a wide range of purposes. The keywords that jump out are: agile, flexibility, prototyping, real-time data, and fast response.


To summarize, data virtualization has reached maturity and organizations are deploying the technology and they know why and where they want to use it.


The live poll results reflect this as well. On a poll that asked the question, "What are the use cases you believe data virtualization is applicable in your environment," the majority picked enabling agile BI as their first choice followed by single view and data services for SOA.


Posted October 17, 2011 10:15 AM
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