What is Data Integration?
Data integration is the method of combining data from different sources and providing the user with a unified view of the information. During recent years, data integration has been implemented in a variety of integration applications, for example:
§ By synchronizing the data of different applications to ensure that all changes in one application are reflected in another;
§ By migrating information from one system to another, e.g., populating databases of one application with information from another;
§ Using a ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) method to pull data from various sources into a data warehouse;
§ Providing access to a specific set of data for viewing, reporting, etc., e.g., via a portal.
However, data integration using these methods often provides information that is not current. Depending on the architecture, the data can be weeks, even months, old, and the data warehouse is usually updated through a batch, extract-aggregate-and-load, process. FTP is still the primary form of data integration today.
Fortunately, the recent development and standardization of web services, driven by the adoption of service oriented architecture (SOA), will allow the user to design an enterprise integration approach with a standards-based bus so that he can orchestrate sequences of services to perform complex business processes. SOA solutions allow all participating databases and services to receive new data constantly, thus providing more value to those using the source and target systems existing within the SOA.