Sidebar: Critical Factors For Success

ETL is complicated, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Keep some of the following issues in mind if you are considering an ETL project:

  • Centralized vs. decentralized.Centralized ETL is generally preferable to distributed ETL because it is much simpler, says Giga analyst Philip Russom.
  • Preparation. It's crucial to understand your business issues and your data, according to Russom.
  • Real-time response. ETL used to be a batch process, by definition. Increasingly, companies are seeking real-time or near-real-time response from data warehouses, says Dan Vesset, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.
  • Metadata. Vesset advises ETL project managers to pay attention to metadata and make sure the tools they choose handle it well.
  • Scalability. Russom calls scalability the "burning issue" for ETL. "Even though you may be able to deal with your data today, you must be prepared for steep growth in the future," he says. And remember that scalability means adapting not only to higher volumes of data but also to more complex data.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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