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Introduction to Master Data Services

2010 June 4
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by Shannon Lowder

You find yourself sitting in front of your machine late one evening. Everyone has gone home for the night except for you. You’ve left a scan running to identify all the SQL Servers on your network, and two new ones appear. accountingSQL and humanResourceSQL.

You begin to document these two new servers, and notice the databases running on them.

You find both have databases housing employee data.

“Why aren’t they sharing this data, rather than replicating it, ” you wonder aloud.

You dig further, and realize the employee data isn’t being replicated.  Someone rebuilt that data by hand.  You soon realize, “these were created without any communication between the teams.”

You may not yet know it, but sooner than later, you’re going to have to make these two databases share information, and verify they both have the latest and greatest version of the data.  Do you know how much work is ahead of you?

Well, if you have the ability to run SQL Server 2008 R2, you won’t have as much work to do.  Microsoft now has Master Data Services.  This new tool allows you to define data “hubs”.  These hubs can define your employee data.  You can then set up rules that will help you get a single version of the data.  No more conflicting data sets.

While this will give you a tool, I don’t want you thinking this will be simple.  It will only speed something that you would have spent weeks of manual building to accomplish without it.  With a Database Administrator and someone who understands the data, you can develop a plan, and implement that plan.  Unifying many disparate sources into one unified, yet distributed data source.

You should now have a really good idea of how you’d use this technology.  Get white papers and road maps on Master Data Services here. Get even more information on MDS here.

If you’d like more guidance, or some personal consulting, feel free to contact me.  I’m looking forward to applying this technology in a production environment.  And I’m looking for just the right  project to work on!  If you’d just like to talk through some scenarios, feel free to send those comments in as well.

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