Summary When Nicholas Carr shook up the industry, declaring IT doesn t matter, he must not have been talking about data management. Critical to nearly all business initiatives, IT s data-management function can t afford to sit still while service orientation, grid computing and other new technologies mature. Managers also must avoid letting consolidation and cost-reduction goals leave their organizations vulnerable to security threats and events that could spell disaster. The biggest advance shaking up database systems is XML, the popular markup language standard for describing many kinds of data, including text and various other content. Related development of the World Wide Web Consortium s W3C s- XQuery language standard is a catalyst for dramatic changes in database management, letting businesses evolve relational systems to access, analyze and manage a wider range of data and information. Information architects must make careful choices about how to deploy XQuery and when to adopt XML schemas so that existing relational systems are not thrown into chaos. With demand rising to support more users with increasingly real-time data, scalability is a huge concern. The advent of virtualization software, grid computing and networked, commodity hardware server farms could change the economics of scalability. In the meantime, organizations must make sure business objectives are clearly met by storing and managing terabytes - if not petabytes - of data. Pain points It takes a lot of data to gain a single view of the truth. Businesses want their employees to know all they can about customers and other objects of interest before offers are made and transactions occur. Data managers must assess all alternatives of scalability and integration to match technology with business objectives. Relational schemas fit some purposes, XML schemas fit others. For many applications, the shredding approach to decomposing XML documents so the data fits into relational tables and key relationships makes sense. But to deal with the document as a unit and keep the XML together, XQuery could be the better answer. Data warehouse appliances are tempting, but check the limitations. Thanks to OpenSource Software and technical bundling innovations that squeeze out costs, cheaper appliance alternatives are competing effectively with the established database players. But make sure you test the limits for query complexity and scalability. Turf wars rage between database, application, network and storage administrators. With proprieraty tools still filling the gap between multiple applications and databases, app managers using those tools tussle for control of the data. Meanwhile, DBAs wrestle with fellow administrators over who controls backup, recovery, security and archiving. Source and full article: www.intelligententerprise.coma>