Virtualization: It’s the data! – not the hardware

The first Strategic Technology to watch according to Gartner is Virtualization. And I do like their twist in the whole virtualization debate – focus on data. While the whole world is linking the word virtualization with optimizing your hardware assets by using a virtual layer on top of your hardware. By optimizing the usage of your assets in this virtual way you can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership (ToC).

David Cearley at Gartner comes with a fascinating other angle. Basically he sees virtualization also as strategic technology to virtualize the data. And by that twist, data quality and data governance appears annoyingly in the middle of your radar screen. In order to use this strategy for your operational excellence, to eliminate the number of redundant data on your real storage devices, and make a virtual layer between your applications and this virtual data storage, you need to be sure that all your applications can work seamlessly with that virtual data.

To significantly reduce your amount of redundant data you need to make it more agnostic. Your apps will still expect the data in a specific format, while your virtual data is stored in another way. You need tools to convert it quickly – back and forward – from the standard virtual way (e.g. first-name, prefix, last-name, zip-code, thoroughfare, etc) to the specific application way (e.g. name in one field, zip-code, street).

Virtualization of data is not only about deduplication of the data! The challenge is more on how to use the virtual data in your existing applications in a non-invasive way. This can be done by using good data quality tools for your cleansing and deduplication, and for your – back and forward – standardisation.

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