Recently there has been controversy over the validity and makeup of the architectural structure known as the operational data store (ODS). Some skeptics question the existence of the ODS. This argument is quite strange because the ODS is one of the most pervasive architectural structures found in information systems today. The notion that the ODS is not a legitimate structure is news to SAP, Oracle Financials and PeopleSoft--three of the most widely implemented pieces of software in the 1990s which happen to contain major components which are decidedly ODSs. While some aspects of these software packages are beyond the bounds of an ODS, many of the features of these software packages squarely fit the paradigm of an ODS. As further evidence of the health of the ODS, in a recent private conference, seven information systems directors of large, well-known companies spent time describing their environment. The ODS was a prominent feature of each of these companies' information systems architecture. So it is peculiar that industry experts are questioning the validity of the ODS. Perhaps these experts simply do not understand what an ODS is and what functions it performs.

In order to have a discussion about ODSs, the conversation best begins with a schematic that shows how an ODS is architecturally positioned. Figure 1 shows the classical positioning of the ODS.

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