Is Operational Data Store as a concept still relavant in today's Informatoin ecosystem?

Hi Fellow Architects -

I was recently reviewing old publications EDW and some of the related concepts such as those of Corporate Information Facotry, Operational BI etc. and came across an old Inmon article from ’98.  I was curious to find out as to whether or not an ODS is relevant in today's landscape where we have EII, EDW Appliances, cloud based Warehousing solutions.

Thanks for tuning in!!
surekha -


  1. Even though this article is 14 years old, it still very much applies today. Don't let all the marketing speak from the data warehouse appliances fool anyone, ODS is alive and well, maybe even 'more so' than ever. The only omission I see in this article that should be addressed is that Inmon does not bring up the possibility of having both ODS/Normalized views AND star schema views 'at the same time' - Inmon says its one or the other. This might be Inmon's subtle way of saying there really is no need for Star Schema views, but I disagree - you can actually have both at the same time - I have recommended this, seen this in action and watch it succeeed in multiple places.

    Inmon speaks to the 'Teradata' and data warehouse appliance way - these databases are so highly optimized and massively parallel why bother with burdensome star schemas. I believe the optimal way to do it is by having star schema views (materialized or virtual) based off a normalized foundation via the ODS (which combines the best of the Oracle/Microsoft and the Teradata way, or the best of the Inmon and the Kimball way) - in other words, 'coexistence'. This benefits both explorers AND farmers per the Inmon article and minimizes chances of not properly serving either population.

    Also, I've always called ODS an 'architectural construct' since the days predating this article. Something that business users can't ask for (and one reason why its hard to justify in a business context), but IT folks know its needed to bridge the world of supporting metrics between KTLO operations and business strategy. By calling this an 'architectural structure' in the article, I believe Inmon is saying the same thing.


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