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Canonical Data Model Overview

The canonical data model is the definition of a standard organization view of a particular subject, plus the mapping back to each application view of this same subject.

The standard organization view is built traditionally using simple yet useful structures. Employee and Contractor, for example, might be represented as Person Role; Order and Credit as Event; Warehouse and Distribution Point as Site.

The canonical data model is frequently implemented as an XML hierarchy. Specific uses include delivering enterprise-wide business intelligence (BI), defining a common view within a service-oriented architecture (SOA) and streamlining software interfaces.

Standard. A canonical data model is the accepted structure for an application system. It promotes reusability as the canonical data model of the firm’s business. When referring to data modeling itself, a canonical data model is one of the known, industry-standard models for that industry or business.” Canonical models typically have company-wide scope that describes terms, their definitions and their relations in the language of the business.  The canonical data model unifies information fragments at an enterprise level to facilitate consistent data usage for enterprise integration.”

Mapping. Instead of writing translators between each and every application, it is sufficient just to write a translator between each format and the canonical format. Some nations are comprised of people who speak many different tribal languages Mapping is the way to communicate between tribes that is not prejudiced toward any particular group. In the realm of information systems, the data or information models that are specific to a particular application are tribal, and one that is independent from them all is canonical.”

Simple yet useful. Sathsh Parameshwara, BI architect, says that the canonical data model is a generic data model that can be plugged into any platform without any dependency on applications used. Lee LeClair, senior system engineer, states, “The term means a data model that conforms to acceptable practices and is in its simplest form.” Steve White, information architect, adds, “A canonical data model is one that’s abstracted, that is to say not linked to a specific application.” Jeff Lawyer, senior data architect, adds, “A canonical data model is an overall, basic and generally indisputable data model for an enterprise, sufficiently high-level enough to be boundary, organization and application independent.”

Hierarchy. Jeff Pekrul, data architect, says that a canonical schema can be a physical model that is typically an XML schema (i.e., hierarchical) and intended for use in data integration applications. He states, “Much of the confusion about the term ‘canonical’ relates to the distinction between canonical schemas - typically XSDs - and logical data models from which these may or may not be derived.”



Last Updated (Saturday, 15 May 2010 02:53)

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