Meta data integration is one of the least understood and most misrepresented topics in the entire decision support arena. It's astounding the number of times we're told that a tool seamlessly integrates every source of meta data. This article will present a "real-world" example of meta data integration and the challenges of today's meta data integration tools market. Before we begin reviewing the strengths and limitations of these meta data integration tools, keep in mind that it is much easier purchasing such a tool and working around its limitations, as opposed to manually building programs to populate and support the meta data repository.

One of the chief reasons why these tools are not cleanly integrated is that there isn't a globally adopted meta model standard (the meta model refers to the physical data model of the repository). Once an appropriate meta model standard is defined and adopted, the data warehousing products from different vendors will be able to share information much more easily.

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