John Schmidt, from Informatica, penned an interesting post titled: IT Doesn't Matter - Integration Does.

Yes, integration is hard, but I do profoundly believe that what's been happening on the Web over the last 10 or so years also applies to the Enterprise, and by this I absolutely do not mean "Enterprise 2.0" since "2.0" and productive agility do not compute in my realm of discourse.

large collections of RSS feeds, Wikiwords, Shared Bookmarks, Discussion Forums etc.. when disconnected at the data level (i.e. hosted in pages with no access to the "data behind") simply offer information deluge and inertia (there are only so many hours for processing opaque information sources in a given day).

Enterprises fundamentally need to process information efficiently as part of a perpetual assessment of their relative competitive Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), in existing and/or future markets. Historically, IT acquisitions have run counter intuitively to the aforementioned quest for "Ability" due to the predominance of "rip and replace" approach technology acquisition that repeatedly creates and perpetuates information silos across Application, Database, Operating System, Development Environment boundaries. The sequence of events typically occurs as follows:

  1. applications are acquired on a problem by problem basis
  2. back-end application databases are discovered once ad-hoc information views are sought by information workers
  3. back-end database disparity across applications is discovered once holistic views are sought by knowledge workers (typically domain experts).

In the early to mid 90's (pre ubiquitous Web), operating system, programming language, operating system, and development framework independence inside the enterprise was technically achievable via ODBC (due to it's platform independence). That said, DBMS specific ODBC channels alone couldn't address the holistic requirements associated with Conceptual Views of disparate data sources, hence the need for Data Access Virtualization via Virtual Database Engine technology.

Just as is the case on the Web today, with the emergence of the "Linked Data" meme, enterprises now have a powerful mechanism for exploiting the Data Integration benefits associated with generating Data Objects from disparate data sources, endowed with HTTP based IDs (URIs).

Conceptualizing access to data exposed Databases APIs, SOA based Web Services (SOAP style Web Services), Web 2.0 APIs (REST style Web Services), XML Views of SQL Data (SQLX), pure XML etc.. is problem area addressed by RDF aware middleware (RDFizers e.g Virtuoso Sponger).

Here are examples of what SQL Rows exposed as RDF Data Objects (identified using HTTP based URIs) would look like outside or behind a corporate firewall:

What's Good for the Web Goose (Personal Data Space URIs) is good for the Enterprise Gander (Enterprise Data Space URIs).