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3 Essential Facts About Data Fabric Architecture

Rob Vanderzyppe, Appian
March 31, 2023

Data fabric might seem like yet another data management technological innovation you have to learn about—but this one is different from the rest.

While technology continues to evolve, the data problems that enterprises face are in many cases getting worse over time: data, data, and more data is permeating the business. 

Without a method to quickly grasp and comprehend this data located across many disparate systems, organizations will lose in the digital transformation era. Organizations have tried a variety of integration tools to provide rapid access to data in business applications. But with the vast amount of disparate data sources located across the enterprise, it’s become increasingly difficult to navigate these complex data issues to provide business insights in real time (or at least close to real time). This is where data fabric architecture diverges from the pack.

What is data fabric architecture?

Data fabric architecture is a virtual data layer that connects any number of external systems together to provide unified access and a complete, 360-degree view of an organization’s data. Whether your data lives in legacy systems or multi-cloud environments, a data fabric can connect these systems together for a unified view. 

What makes the data fabric approach unique is that you access connected systems wherever they currently reside. That means no migration projects for you and access to real-time data for your business users. Governance capabilities within a data fabric solution also help organizations democratize data to business teams without risking breaches in compliance. 

[ How does data fabric differ from traditional data integration technologies? Read also Data Fabric vs. Data Mesh vs. Data Lake and 4 Ways Data Fabric Helps Developers Gain Speed.  ]

3 key facts about data fabric architecture.

1. A virtualized data layer simplifies data management.

As mentioned above, one of the most prominent components of data fabrics is the virtualization of data. Data virtualization allows you to avoid data migration projects and access the data directly from wherever it currently resides. No additional data extraction, transformation, or loading back into another system eases the burden of making data available in applications. Data fabrics can act as a bridge between any data sources (warehouses, cloud platforms, etc.), allowing you to create a real-time, single source of truth for your enterprise data to meet business requirements faster. 

2. Centralized data governance tools ensure data quality and accessibility.

This single data model created with data fabrics also streamlines the data governance between the connected systems. Once established throughout your organization, this single source of truth will help to eliminate duplicative data and repetitive, manual updates to that data across several systems. 

With a single data model, you can also easily manage who has access to create, read, update, and delete data. Whether you need to give an entirely new business unit access to read a field on a customer record for a customer experience initiative or allow a single user the ability to create a new record to initiate a business process, a data fabric gives you the visibility you need to sleep well at night knowing that your data is only being accessed from a secure data fabric architecture. 

3. Data fabric architecture enables scalability and flexibility.

Finally, data fabric architectures provide the adaptability needed in modern enterprises today. The data landscape is changing rapidly with both the proliferation of data sources and the increased scrutiny of data compliance policies and regulations. There is no “set it and forget it” model for data architectures for any use case. Organizations need to plan to make updates to models over time as business requirements change, and data fabric architectures are well equipped to do just that. 

Low-code/no-code tools within a data fabric abstract away the layers of database programming that are often difficult to change and untangle over time. Data fabric technologies were built under the assumption that enterprises would continually need to add, remove, and extend data sources and users that need to access the data for business intelligence.

[ Want to learn more about how to solve your data silo problems and speed up innovation? Get the eBook: The Data Fabric Advantage. ]

Data fabric architecture can modernize and future proof your data approach.

Enterprise data fabrics are more than just the latest trend in data management tools. They provide IT and development teams with the speed and agility needed to keep up with what seems like constant changes to the world of enterprise data, along with the guardrails to ensure data is still kept secure. 

For enterprises that want to continue to digitally transform their organizations and lead the pack in their industries, data fabric architectures set up a strong foundation. They democratize access to data throughout an organization and can help uncover the business insights that can revolutionize the business. From key customer insights to process improvements, data fabrics are the new bedrock of business growth. 

Want to learn more about how a data fabric can transform your organization's data management strategies? Watch the on-demand webinar