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The Changing World, Part 3

Originally published November 9, 2006

Editor's note: This is the third installment in this four-part series.  Part 1, Part 2 and Part 4 of this series are available on the BI Network.

Separating Static and Temporal Data
Now let’s consider what happens when a separation is made between static and temporal data, as done by Kalido. Kalido makes a point of separating these two types of data, and the result of that separation is very powerful and profound. Figure 1 shows what happens when this basic separation of data is made.

Figure 1

When data is organized as done by Kalido, there is a dramatic effect on the information infrastructure. Change is able to be absorbed gracefully by the information infrastructure. The chaos that happens when the two types of data are mixed together simply does not happen with Kalido.

Why the Separation Works
The first major effect of the separation of static and temporal data is that static data is not affected by change, as expected. There are masses of data – static data - that are not affected by a change in business requirements. And, when there is a change in temporal data, as is expected – the change is elegantly accommodated by Kalido. With Kalido, data is carefully time-stamped. This means that when changes to temporal data are made, only new data with new time stamps needs to be created. There is no need to go backward in time and try to change or alter data. Change is accommodated quickly and simply with the Kalido structuring of data. 

No Impact on Static Data
Figure 2 shows that by separating static and temporal data, when business requirements change, there is no impact on static data.  

Figure 2

Interestingly, in a typical data warehouse, there is often a greater volume of static data than there is temporal data. Depending on the nature of the business of the company building and operating the data warehouse, there may be as much as 90% static data in a data warehouse. 

No Need for Change over Time
Figure 3 shows that for temporal data, when change occurs, there is no need to make changes to existing temporal data. Temporal data is time-stamped and needs no adjustments. 

Figure 3

Figure 4 shows that when changes need to be made, a new set of temporal data is created with a new set of time stamps. In other words, change is easily accommodated by the basic structuring of data where static data is separated from temporal data. 

Figure 4

However, there is another class of data that can be further separated, and that class of data is known as “master data.” Master data includes many important reference and control files of the corporation, as well as other data. These files are needed for both operational and DSS (decision support system) processing. Kalido separates this type of data as well, and manages it separately. Figure 5 shows that master data is managed over time as well by Kalido.

Figure 5

There are some real advantages in being able to separate master data, temporal data and static data. One of those advantages is that over time, it is relatively easy to add new subject areas to the data warehouse. The ability to add new subject areas fits very nicely with the need to build the data warehouse iteratively. In addition, by allowing new subject areas to be added with little or no impact on development, the development process can be driven by conformance to the business model. 

The Kalido approach, where static data is separated from temporal data, leads to smooth sailing in the face of change. Figure 6 shows this felicitous effect.

Figure 6

  • Bill InmonBill Inmon

    Bill is universally recognized as the father of the data warehouse. He has more than 36 years of database technology management experience and data warehouse design expertise. He has published more than 40 books and 1,000 articles on data warehousing and data management, and his books have been translated into nine languages. He is known globally for his data warehouse development seminars and has been a keynote speaker for many major computing associations.

    Editor's Note: More articles, resources and events are available in Bill's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

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