Data is the lifeblood of most modern businesses and organizations. If companies are not making a direct profit from their data assets, then they still require diverse data and advanced analytics to keep their company running and give it a competitive advantage. In 2021, even small companies tend to have an international presence as the Internet of Things has grown much larger than the Internet of people.
It’s no surprise then, that companies of all sizes are turning to new solutions like data fabric to maintain their structured and unstructured data, wherever they are on the globe. But what is data fabric? This article will explain the purpose of data fabric, what it is, and how it works.
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What exactly is data fabric?
Data fabric earned its name because it’s like a large cloth that can stretch as far as you need it to. Like a cloth, any user that connects to a data fabric from a single point on the globe may be granted data access without needing to bypass firewalls or use complex coding. More specifically, a data fabric is a distributed data environment that operates with a unified architecture for all data centers, data stores, and data lakes that are connected to that single environment.
Before the advent of this new technology, organizations would often use data silos to store their different types of data. Although silos created many sources of data, the data integrity was often lost because only a select group had access to the databases, making the sharing of data impossible or highly improbable. So, the data would sit unused in silos, unable to provide the valuable insights to organizations that it was meant to.
Because important data is often spread out across multiple servers, devices, and cloud environments, data engineers end up spending the wide majority of their time tracking down this data rather than on analytics. This is a waste of the data management team’s time and a bigger waste of company dollars. Data fabric solutions provide real-time access to data with the reliability of a single platform.
How does data fabric work?
Since so many companies are international, they require a data management system that can handle the big data loads that are just too large for cloud storage systems. A data fabric architecture unifies all data sources via built-in connectors. This means different international branches can have access to the same massive amounts of data without the need for complex coding or data virtualization.
Data fabric architecture is more than just a relational database. Data fabrics use machine learning programs and artificial intelligence to provide data preparation, automated data quality control, data discovery, and predictive maintenance.
Why do organizations use data fabric?
Most companies are facing huge data integration and data management problems. All devices, websites, and online platforms are sources of data that need to be put in some kind of container or public cloud to be analyzed.
A data fabric solution gives organizations continuity and governance over their data. A data fabric makes the multiple tools that cloud environments or silos require unnecessary and provides businesses with a single environment where they can access their data without the fear of it being lost, compromised, or laying stagnant in a data warehouse that nobody can get to.
Data fabrics make it much easier for small to mid-sized businesses to scale, because as companies grow, so does their data. As the volume of data increases for these companies, as well as the data sources, they need to make sure they are not overwhelmed before they become too big to survive. Data fabrics work as floodgates to hold back the non-stop deluge of information, turning the curse of big data into a blessing.