. . . And a New Data Warehouse on the Back End

The TVA's next step, one that will affect many of its 13,000 employees, is to build a Web-enabled data warehouse for the huge amounts of information created by its systems.

The authority's wide-area network is processing 21TB of data a month, an 82% increase from last summer due largely to increased business use of the Internet. Currently, information gets stored in separate departmental silos.

"Like it or not, our application strategy has been best-of-breed, and it's getting to the point where we need to pull all that different data together," said Diane Bunch, the TVA's senior vice president of information services.

The data warehouse will be built on IBM's DB2 database running on a mainframe, with IBM's Shark disk arrays handling storage. Information will be pulled from various systems, stored centrally and made available for analysis through a series of smaller warehouses and data marts (see diagram).

Bunch said the first phase of the project, involving the TVA's financial and performance management systems, is due to be completed by next June, although the amount of data that will be stored hasn't been finalized.

Bunch is also using the data warehouse project as an opportunity to borrow a concept from the TVA's nuclear plants, which have to document every system and action.

As part of building the warehouse, Bunch said, she wants to make sure the TVA has a firm grasp of all the interfaces between its systems. Not knowing that information "would never happen in our nuclear facilities, and our goal is that it won't happen anymore with our information systems," she said.

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