Based on input from far and wide, Nancy Dickson has put out version 2 of Dickson's Database Diagram. Version 1 generated a lot of positive reaction, due most of all to the sheer Tuftian grace of its execution. Just seeing so much of the system in one place is exciting.
I thought this comment summed up a lot of people's reactions to Nancy's diagram:
- There are at least six different database platforms – IDMS, Sybase, DB2 mainframe, DB2 UDB, Oracle, plus some proprietary ones.
- “Basic” student data (ID’s, names, student type) has been replicated in at least twelve different databases, probably more depending on how one defines basic student data. Actually, some are replications of replications (the data is pulled from SISREP).
- Now that we see this visual picture of where we are, well it’s just downright scary, isn’t it? How many DBA’s are necessary to support this picture? How many skill sets for programmers/developers are needed? How many different licenses are needed and how many dollars are needlessly used to support this habit I’ll call “my data, my way”.
A major piece of getting prepared for a system modernization or an ERP or CPI or whatever you want to call it is to simplify this diagram; to consolidate our replicated data into one platform and use a uniform set of tools to access it. In my opinion, this is a tactic that needs to be further fleshed in order to make it part of the plan. Is there a champion out there who could frame the next level of this idea, outline the impacts (who/what would have to be changed) and benefits (what things get better), and describe the basics of a plan of action? Interested parties should apply by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Operators are standing by.
A lot of people have since sent Nancy corrections and things, which she has integrated into version 2.
A close inspection shows a whole new section of the diagram listing the "standalone" data stores. Check out Nancy's integrative work and wonder...then comment of course. BTW I think we are looking to move further refinement of this diagram over to a wiki, thanks to the genius of Nancy Lee. More on that later.