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David Linthicum chairs new SOA data integration community

Where do architects go to learn about data integration? Author and SOA expert David Linthicum is heading up a new online community where SOA architects can share their expertise on what Linthicum calls the “last mile of SOA.”

“What’s tripping up SOA architects today is they really don’t have a rudimentary understanding of how to do data integration in the context of SOA,” said Linthicum. “So we have a tendency as a community to define simple services and call that SOA without a good focus on how those services integrate with the back end databases.”

The SOA Data Integration Architect Community (SDIAC) launched last week, hosted by Informatica and lead by Linthicum. Essentially, the community is an online forum for the exchanging of expertise on data integration. Linthicum said the real value participating for architects is having free access to some pretty expensive talent.

The problems to be covered in the SDIAC can be quite common in SOA.

“So you’ve got nine generations of different physical databases – whatever was cool at the time,” said Linthicum. “And now people are asked to build systems on top of the data. Well how do you integrate with those systems and make it look like one consistent schema within the context of a SOA?”

Doing it right takes a lot more than just heaping new services on top of data, he said. Getting the data architecture correct is key.

While the SDIAC is hosted by Informatica, Linthicum said the community itself will remain independent. But it is an interesting move by Informatica, who earlier in February announced what amounts to an App Store for data integration technologies.

And Informatica is not alone in this. SnapLogic, also in the data integration space, announced its own Snap Store back in November. Here, users can buy and sell connectors, pipelines and data transformations.

It seems that data integration is becoming an increasingly social space where it pays not to go it alone. How interesting that vendors are beginning to accept that they can’t offer every “solution” as a product. Perhaps in the future, vendors in this space will be defined by the vibrance of their user communities as much as by the products themselves.

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