Enterprises often equate scalability with performance and, when considering a scalable ETL environment, they think mostly of maintaining high performance over a broad range of workloads. True scalability, however, is about more than just performance. A scalable ETL environment scales along three dimensions: performance, availability and maintainability. My previous two articles (Building the Foundation for a Scalable ETL and Building the Foundation for a Scalable ETL Environment: Designing for Availability) covered performance and availability in the scalable ETL environment. This article completes the scalable ETL story by discussing maintainability.

To be honest, I need to come up with a better word for the third scalability dimension. I use maintainability because it is an "-ility" and sounds better than what I really mean by this third dimension. I corrupt the definition of maintainability a bit; to me it’s more than just software maintainability. This third dimension of scalability is about low cost of ownership.

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