In this model the role of information and data is pretty critical. They not only play the role of being able to connect those two layers, broad layers, if you will, but also they act as the way to link information up and down. Obviously the business logic and processes are embedded there. The resulting information agility has to provide some advantage. So the foundation of the business capability to an architecture is flexible, virtualized access to diverse information sources.
Now we will be exploring what data virtualization means. Virtualization has a couple of different connotations, abstraction connotations, the connotation of providing data when asked for, not necessarily in real time, but close to that, or in right time, if you will. And then the types of information sources tend to be pretty diverse, not just what's in the data center, not just what's in content management systems, or desktops, but also external partner data, big data, cloud-based data, social media, and even unstructured information.
The challenges in this context are not new. The data integration challenges are similar to what they would always be, except that they are growing in complexity, growing in magnitude. Thereís really an exponential growth in data that is being collected and saved. We will see some quotes here shortly on what's happening the data silos. It isnít just within the organization but also the customer voice coming from the Internet in the form of unstructured data, big data coming from the cloud, partner information, log files, etc. All of these add complexity, add more rigidity if you haven't started to make them flexible, and they can add high costs in maintaining them.
One statistic I have come across is that the quantity of data is growing three and a half times faster than the available storage, even though storage is getting cheaper. And imagine if you on average replicated that data 3 to 7 times, you have a lot of information that you have nowhere to put. So this idea of virtualization is basically gaining currency very rapidly, and as I mentioned earlier it plays multiple roles in the enterprise architecture.