There is a severe disease that has spread to epidemic proportions throughout our society. This disease is particularly dangerous as its effects are not readily identifiable at the time of infection. However, if this condition goes untreated, it can be debilitating and even terminal. This disease is not hepatitis, but rather "independent" data marts. While this imagery may seem a bit dramatic, unfortunately it reflects the reality in many of today's companies. For example, at EWSolutions, we have a large client that has many multiterabyte data warehouses. We have estimated that they have 75 to 200 independent data marts. The cost to this company for data warehousing is greater than $500 million annually. Sadly, their situation is not unique. If you work for a government agency or a Global 2000 company, it is highly likely that your data warehouse architecture is that of independent data marts.

This column is the first of a three-part series on migrating from independent data marts to an architected data warehouse solution. This installment will address the characteristics of independent data marts, the flaws in their architecture and the reasons they exist. Part two will address specifically how a company can migrate from the independent data mart architecture to an architected data warehouse solution.

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