Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Weblogic

Weblogic: Article

Defragment Your View of the World for a Quiet Life

An innovative approach to the distributed data problem

The value of two phase commit transactions has always been that programmers can write applications that access data spread across multiple databases and be confident that any updates that are made will be consistently reflected in all of the databases, or none, at the end of the transaction.

Clearly, the reality underlying this observation is that data is split across multiple stores. And how! As project-based applications are built, or bought, data about a single business entity (let's take "customer" as an example) become diffused over many back-end systems, and before long the poor guy is on the phone, complaining that you got his personal details wrong, despite his having informed you of his change of address five times in the last six weeks. But that's just the customer perspective. All sorts of other people feel this pain; managers can't get consolidated views of the things they care about: customers, products, sales, you name it they are doubtless populating their own personal spreadsheets with data gleaned from five or six different back ends in order to inform their usual run of day-to-day decisions.

So, the IT department set off in response on a crusade to build a portal to centralize access to the data, which is good as far as it goes - at least now the code that is the equivalent of that spreadsheet is managed somewhere on a server (although the manager may debate this as a benefit, since now he can't change anything for three months, while he waits for a developer to become free). All this turns out to be a mirage in the longer term as well - as the data landscape changes at the back end, unpredictable quantities of this front-end data integration logic gets broken, and needs rework; not to mention the fact that almost none of it is reusable - a million different little queries for a million different specific purposes, and growing fast.

This landscape is about as far from the "service-oriented architecture" vision as it is possible to be - all of the pain of a stovepiped approach to functionality (and therefore data) in one painful place. It is because of the importance of logically organized, coherent data, and the grim reality of its fragmented storage that a data services layer is one of the first architectural layers that gets looked into as IT departments start to review their desired reference architecture for a move to SOA.

In the past, this problem has been addressed by building data-mart type intermediate databases, drip-fed via ETL of data from the fragmented data sources of record. This does provide for a consistent data model to query, but at the cost of building and maintaining the ETL and with the requirement that the data cannot HAVE to be absolutely up-to-date. After all, you are querying a consistent view of the data, but it's a snapshot - not the real thing. Just imagine if there were an infrastructure that could do for the logical presentation of data what the transaction manager does for its transactional consistency...

Well, there is! And as with all of the best and most creative artists, it has recently changed its name. The product formerly known as Liquid Data - now called AquaLogic Data Services - is an infrastructure that provides for a systematic solution to these issues.

Enter ALDS
At the root, you model your data as you'd like it to appear (the logical data model, canonical data representation, call it what you will) your data as it physically exists (be that data held in relational schemas, applications, Web services, or whatever) and then you declaratively define how the physical data elements relate to the logical data model using the W3C standard XQuery language. In this way, you have solved the fundamental problem of understanding where the data you want to look at comes from, and you have done it in a systematic, managed way. So, looks as good as the portal vs. spreadsheet phase of evolution then?

Actually, it looks a lot better. Recall that all we did so far is declare how the data is built up via relationships. The actual execution of the queries is managed at runtime by the ALDS query engine, which is guided by your declared relationships. What you run queries against is the logical data model, and what that physically causes to happen is driven by what data you are looking for - if you look for a single element of data that comes ultimately from a single back-end database or application, the query that actually runs will just retrieve the necessary information, not all that it would take to populate the entire logical data model. We have achieved, therefore, not only centralized management of data relationships, but reusable relationships - instead of the million aforementioned combinations of data retrieval for a million different specific purposes we have one declared relationship with as many different filters applied to it at runtime as are needed to address all of the different use cases. Wow, reuse! Sounds like a bit of a SOA to me! Maybe it's not an accident that the name changed and the product became part of BEA's new AquaLogic Service Infrastructure product family!

And because the queries are being pushed down to the data sources of record at runtime, the data we see is absolutely up-to-date, removing another of the problems with the "just add another database" technology elastoplast traditional solution to this problem. Finally in addition to all this, ALDS allows you to model the relationships between your physical data sources, so as the back ends change, you can do quick impact analyses of what will be impacted (and, of course, the impact will be restricted to the ALDS tier - the front ends will continue to work against the same logical data model).

But that's not all: the product allows updates as well as queries - updates are decomposed and pushed to the back-end data sources by the query engine, and there is an update framework where you can manage the consistency of updates across multiple stores as appropriate

And what's the role of the transaction manager in all of this? Well, if all your data sources are xa compliant, ALDS can use it to give you update capability with no need to write any code. Magic, I'll have one!!

In conclusion, I would encourage anybody who is grappling with these types of issues to give ALDS a test run. Because it's an innovative approach to the distributed data problem, a lot of people's initial reaction to it is "oh, it won't go fast enough" or some such. In practice, I have never failed to see these same individuals hearts melted as they see the power (and efficiency) of the product and its approach to data integration. Go on... Give it a spin! You know it makes sense! Read more about the ALDS product at http://dev2dev.bea.com/dataservices/.

More Stories By Peter Holditch

Peter Holditch is a senior presales engineer in the UK for Azul Systems. Prior to joining Azul he spent nine years at BEA systems, going from being one of their first Professional Services consultants in Europe and finishing up as a principal presales engineer. He has an R&D background (originally having worked on BEA's Tuxedo product) and his technical interests are in high-throughput transaction systems. "Of the pitch" Peter likes to brew beer, build furniture, and undertake other ludicrously ambitious projects - but (generally) not all at the same time!

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...