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What's In A Name?

Data Virtualization, Data Abstraction, Data Integration, Data Exchange, Semantic Integration, Common Information Model, etc., etc., etc. What to call it? XAware has been struggling from the company’s very begining with finding terminology that accurately and completely describes what it is and what it does in a way that potential users (i.e. developers and archi tects who create and maintain software) will completely understand. This is a lot harder than it first appears.

The latest incarnation of the right words are “Data Virtualization and Abstraction Layer”. What do you think? XAware provides a way to “virtualize” access to multiple independent data sources, which frees other services and applications from dealing with data source location and access specifics, and to “abstract” differing data organizations and sematics, which frees services, business processes and/or applications to use a data model that fits their purpose while using common data stores and data. This data virtualization and abstraction layer provides consistent, real time access to data in a way that that data can be made avaiable in real time to many services, business processes and applications. That is a mouthful, isn’t it? Therein lies the problem.

Let’s make it a bit worse. The XAware approach has the benefits of being REST-ful, consistent with Services Oriented Architecture, standards-based, and, best of all, it makes dealing with data just a hell of a lot easier. It can and has been used to accomplish the normalized data layer for enterprise SOA, the normalization and exchange of information between B2B buisness partners, the real time loading of data warehouses, the generation of data for business intelligence and buisness activity monitoring, semantic integration with a business rules engine, packaging data for both message and enterprise service buses, etc., etc., etc.

The one common thread is that it made all of these projects easier, faster and less expensive to build and maintain - and made the development teams much more productive.

XAware is clearly not the only company with this struggle. Composite Software, BEA, IBM, Tibco, and many others have also struggled with what to call their newer incarnations of simlar software (albeit their’s are too heavy, complex to use, and too expensive - sorry for compromising my “neutrality”, but I had to get that dig in). I have been watching their web sites and seeing their terminlogy change at least as fast as XAware’s.

So what should it be called? I’d love to hear your ideas on the subject. Mail them to me. I’ll compile the results and share them here in a future post.

Bill Miller, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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