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April 04, 2014

A New Approach to Cross-regional Data Integration

By TMCnet Special Guest
Frank Huerta, CEO, TransLattice

The volume of data sets is growing dramatically worldwide; meaning data integration for those data sets is becoming increasingly difficult. Not only is it challenging to manage mountains of data, but when you add multiple data center locations across the globe into the mix, you’ve got a mess on your hands.

Take for instance a video game developer. With a huge subscription database to manage, and end-users worldwide, ensuring high-availability and excellent performance is critical to success. Gamers have high expectations when it comes to their gameplay, including 24/7 access to their accounts from multiple devices. Managing user experience is an important factor for developers who are working on the back-end. Data sets that include profile information, game-play statistics, session data and subscription information must be stored, managed and delivered across multiple platforms and countries at all times. These complex, and sometimes contradictory requirements are often difficult to manage. This can lead to a loss of revenue, increased business risk and angry customers — all of which are bad for business.

This example illustrates some of the intricacies of data integration that need to be considered to effectively manage data in a global environment.  Certain types of data, such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that include critical data such as credit card information, names and addresses are all part of subscription management and can be especially challenging to handle.

You’ve got the whole world in your hands

In the past, business data was stored in a single location, making it easy to access and control. Today, many large enterprises have a global component to daily business transactions, with customers, partners and employees located around the world. Given the distributed nature of an organization’s users and increasing data location regulations, the traditional method of storing data on a central server to support worldwide stakeholders no longer meets business needs. 

As companies experience these globalization effects, many foreign governments are becoming increasingly adamant about data privacy and security for data originating in-country. While regulations vary by country, there are growing requirements for PII data to remain in the country of origin. This means that policies must be created and maintained to ensure that data is stored in compliance with these regulations, which might be easier said than done when a company operates across continents.

The reality today is that companies are forced to choose the lesser of two evils: they can either store data where it is convenient to do so, risking non-compliance with data location regulations, or they can establish separate data stores by region, per regulations.

Let’s briefly look at the challenges of each of these:

  • Data storage without regard to data location – Storing data not in compliance with local regulations carries serious legal and regulatory implications.
  • Separate data stores by region – Storing data in separate geographic regions in order to maintain compliance with data location regulations forces organizations to continually consolidate and synchronize their data.  Depending on the needs of the organization, this can happen several times a day, once a day, weekly, or even monthly.  Regardless of the frequency of the consolidation, immediate access to data in real-time is unachievable.  

Clearly neither of these options is ideal.

Best of both worlds

Fortunately, there are new approaches to data management that allow an organization to keep its existing infrastructure, while enabling automated data location compliance. One approach is an integrated policy-driven data management system that eliminates the challenges described above, by automatically synchronizing data in real-time, which provides a 360-degree view of the data at all times.

Deploying a data integration solution that allows you to keep existing infrastructure, while addressing data location compliance issues, will significantly reduce costs and administrative time. This new approach takes advantage of a “scale-out” architecture where capabilities are extended by simply adding identical data management ‘nodes’. This enables easy scaling either within a data center or to multiple locations around the globe. Integrated policy management virtually eliminates the manual labor usually involved with scaling such a system and delivers a more streamlined, automated process.

Where in the world is my data?

Leveraging existing infrastructure and simply adding data management nodes where needed, allows companies to run a data integration solution alongside their current data stores. As transactions are completed, most of the data is stored as usual, with region-specific data stored only on the node in that region. For example, if a company chooses to expand operations into a nation that requires all PII data be maintained in-country, it can place a node in that country and the PII data will be stored only on that node, rather than deploying a separate instance of the company’s existing database. The nodes form a geographically distributed fabric that provides data visibility in real-time. 

Nodes can run alongside existing database systems and may also be deployed
in remote locations to enable PII data to remain in the country of origin.

Organizations today are more geographically dispersed than ever before and many of them are dedicating significant resources to ensure adequate data availability and performance. New policy-driven data management solutions that unify transactional data across geographies and disparate systems can result in significant business benefits including immediate cross-region data visibility, better response time for remote users and significant cost and time savings. For global businesses, managing data and ensuring compliance no longer has to be painful.

About the Author:

Frank Huerta is CEO and co-founder of TransLattice, where he is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the company. Prior to TransLattice, he was co-founder and CEO of Recourse Technologies. Recourse was purchased by Symantec (News - Alert) Corporation, and Mr. Huerta then served as a vice president at Symantec. Previously, he was the director of business development for Exodus Communications where he focused on mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Huerta also held positions at VeriFone, Seagate Software and Hughes (News - Alert) Aircraft.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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