Data Unification is about being able to make data flow between your company’s applications and data repositories so it can be accessed and used as needed by business users and systems.
The Accur8 Integration Engine enables the easy integration of data and applications by leveraging the power of data virtualization. It underlies our approach to the four key components of our tooling: data integration, application integration, master data management and reporting and analytics.
Data virtualization is an emerging technology that abstracts data from disparate sources (such as applications and data repositories) creating a virtual data layer that provides a unified view and easy access to underlying source data. The following illustration gives a high level understanding of data virtualization.
The diagram below describes how the Accur8 Integration Engine uses data virtualization for data integration. The first step is to model each of the underlying data sources to a metadata repository. This includes the schema, location of tables, type of joins, security and other key bits of information for each data source. The resultant metadata repository contains a detailed map on how to locate all the underlying data in each database. To access the data a user (which can be a person or a program) directly queries the virtual data layer.
From here, the request is automatically processed by the Accur8 Integration Engine that augments it with pertinent information pulled from the metadata repository in real time. This, in turn, creates a transformed query that can retrieve and stitch together data from multiple data sources back into a single result set, thereby providing a unified view of, and access to, the underlying data for other applications and users to consume. The Accur8 Integration Engine handles all of the typical back-end issues such as security, business logic, auditing, monitoring, etc. that typically make integrating disparate data overwhelmingly complex and expensive. It also provides the ability to create, update or delete information in the underlying data sources in real time. In other words, Data Virtualization enables a business to unify and use all of its data, regardless of data source or format, without building out complex data warehouses, or managing expensive infrastructure.
The Accur8 Integration Engine leverages data virtualization in a similar fashion to integrate applications. Key information about the data underlying each application being integrated is mapped and stored in the metadata repository. A mapping UI allows users to determine which fields they want synchronized between applications, the nature (unidirectional, bidirectional, broadcast, etc) and frequency (real time or scheduled). The Accur8 Integration Engine then maps the relationship between applications using intelligence drawn from the metadata repository enabling the chosen integration pattern.
The cornerstone of master data management is built upon having a central repository of master data such as customer, product, employee and vendor data that acts as the gold standard for your underlying databases and represents the “single source of truth” for all applications and users. This model enables good governance and more secure control of your company’s data. With the Accur8 Integration Engine the virtual data layer becomes that single source. By providing users both data integration and application integration capabilities it provides a company a wide range of options to manage its data across all of its applications.
The Accur8 Integration Engine draws data from the virtual data layer for reporting and analytics purposes. This means it has access to all of the data from applications and data repositories that have been mapped to the virtual data layer.
Data unification can transform the capabilities of your company as it enables easy access and the smooth flow of data across the organization to serve its many business uses. The Accur8 Integration Engine harnesses the power of data virtualization to bring together data integration, application integration, master data management and operational reporting and analytics. Collectively they provide a unified approach to handling and managing a company’s data, while creating significant savings in both time and resource.