A new battle is brewing around the future control of metadata standards, that could be crucial for the next stage in the development of data warehousing, business intelligence tools and repositories. Growth in those areas has been further fueled by the recent explosion of interest in e-business systems. This week, a group of software vendors […]
A new battle is brewing around the future control of metadata standards, that could be crucial for the next stage in the development of data warehousing, business intelligence tools and repositories. Growth in those areas has been further fueled by the recent explosion of interest in e-business systems. This week, a group of software vendors have proposed an alternative to Microsoft Corp’s OIM Open Information Management standard, a key component of the Microsoft Repository. The vendors, including Oracle Corp, Unisys Corp, IBM Corp, NCR Corp and Hyperion Solutions Inc, have submitted the CWMI Common Warehouse Metadata Interchange standard to the Object Management Group for approval.
The group says that, although some 90% of Fortune 1000 companies are either deploying or evaluating data warehouse technology, the software products used to create them and other e-business systems still use proprietary data formats, which prevents information sharing between products. Microsoft’s answer has been its own OIM-compatible Microsoft Repository, and last December it joined the Meta Data Coalition, and handed over the control of OIM to the Coalition. It was duly adopted by MDC in July as a standard, effectively putting an end to MDC’s alternative MDIS Metadata Interchange Specification. Other than Microsoft, CA/Platinum, Softlab GmbH, and Viasoft Inc have built OIM implementations to date. OIM originated from Microsoft’s original cooperation on repositories with Texas Instruments Inc, Platinum, the now defunct Select Software Inc and Rational Software Corp.
CWMI defines a metadata format intended for all data warehousing and business intelligence products. It follows on from last year’s submission by IBM, Oracle and Unisys of the XML Meta Data Interchange format, XMI, to the OMG last year. XMI was intended to make it easier for geographically dispersed development teams to integrate metadata from multiple repositories – and Microsoft agreed to support it in the forthcoming Microsoft Repository 2.0. But CWMI greatly widens the scope of XMI, adding an object model with a set of APIs, interchange formats and services, to cover the extraction, transformation, transportation, loading, integration and analysis phases of data warehousing.
Oracle has criticized OIM as proprietary and not scalable enough to support large scale data warehouses, and competitors claim that it favors Microsoft’s DCOM as its object model over alternatives such as Corba and Enterprise Java Beans. But CWMI supporters Hyperion and NCR – though its Teradata division – are both also active members of the Meta Data Coalition. The proposal review process for CWMI will result in a revised specification likely to be submitted to the OMG by the end of this year, and the supporting companies hope to see it ratified as a standard by the early spring of 2000.