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Competing Data Warehousing Standards to Merge in the OMG

NEEDHAM, MA. September 25, 2000.

Today, the Meta Data Coalition (MDC) and the Object Management Group (OMG), two industry organizations with competing data warehousing standards, jointly announced that the MDC will merge into the OMG. As a result, the MDC will discontinue independent operations and work will continue in the OMG to integrate the two standards. Until this week, there were two major standards for metadata and modeling in the areas of data warehousing and component-based development.

Data warehousing is a response to the enterprise need to integrate valuable data spread across organizations from multiple sources. Analysis of an enterprise's accumulated data not only allows sales and production to be tuned for maximum profitability, but also allows entirely new and profitable products to be discovered and exploited. However, it is difficult to merge data into a single warehouse when its sources are spread over a number of different databases, using different data models.

The merger of MDC into the OMG marks an agreement of the major data warehousing and metadata vendors to converge on one standard, incorporating the best of the MDC's Open Information Model (OIM) with the best of the OMG's Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM). When the work is complete, the resulting specification will be issued by the OMG as the next version of the CWM. A single standard will allow users to exchange metadata between different products from different vendors freely.

"The merger of the Meta Data Coalition with the Object Management Group represents a tremendous step forward for the software industry. Metadata interchange is essential to the continued growth of e-business, as data from increasingly diverse sources and applications needs to be exchanged both within the enterprise, and more importantly, outside the enterprise. One unified standard supported by both groups, whose members are among the leading vendors in the industry, will go a long way towards facilitating metadata interoperability across heterogeneous systems and applications," said Mike Schiff, director of data warehousing strategies, Current Analysis Inc.

A Tale of Two Standards

Founded in 1995, the Meta Data Coalition (MDC) is a not-for-profit consortium of 50 vendors and end-users, including BMC, Informatica, CA, NCR, Microsoft, and SAS, whose goal is to provide a tactical solution for metadata exchange. The Coalition developed the MDC OIM (Open Information Model), a technology-neutral and vendor-independent metadata standard that is comprised of the Meta Data Interchange Specification (MDIS) and the OIM, originally submitted by Microsoft. Since the MDC OIM 1.0 became available in July 1999, work has been under way to align the standard with the CWM developed by OMG. On August 31, MDC membership voted to formalize the decision to merge with OMG.

"The Coalition succeeded in generating broad participation in the development of a specification in a timely manner, but our member vendors realized that it would be necessary to merge our efforts with the OMG in order to encourage industry-wide acceptance of a single standard. As a result, we are happy to expedite this initiative and look forward to helping the OMG establish the combined standard in the marketplace," said Kay Hammer, co-chair of MDC and co-founder, president and CEO of Evolutionary Technologies International (ETI), a charter member of MDC.

"The merging of the two standards bodies is a positive event for customers and software vendors - it unites two previously parallel standard efforts," said Steve Murchie, group product manager, SQL Server at Microsoft Corporation. "As the MDC OIM has been one of the design bases for the OMG CWM, the united body will be able to drive the alignment even further. We think this will go far in further accelerating the adoption of business intelligence in the industry."

The Object Management Group's Common Warehouse Metamodel builds on various standards, including OMG's UML (Unified Modeling Language), XMI (XML Metadata Interchange) and MOF (Meta Object Facility), and on the Coalition's OIM. The CWM was developed by a number of companies, including IBM, Oracle, Unisys, Hyperion, Genesis, NCR, UBS, and Dimension EDI, and is an adopted OMG standard.

"Coming to a consensus on one metadata standard will have great impact on the ROI of business intelligence systems and data warehouse implementations for e-businesses," said Michael Howard, Oracle vice president of B2B Integration and Data Warehouse Division. "CWM, as the standard, has come one step closer to this industry-wide consensus with the introduction of these new members to OMG."

The OMG brings vendors, users, system integrators and other interested parties together to develop vendor-neutral, platform-neutral standards. "The OMG is widely recognized as place where software standards are pursued and adopted," said Richard Soley, the OMG's chairman and CEO. "Our work spans software infrastructure for application servers and data warehousing to standards for computer applications, and our standards are being used in such diverse areas as air traffic control and Manufacturing PDM enablers. MDC efforts in the OMG will continue to further our work in enabling enterprises to share information, regardless of what format it's in or what platform it's on."

Consensus through Cooperation

The OMG, a vendor-neutral standards consortium best known for its work on CORBA and the UML, adopted its CWM in June 2000. Even before OMG adopted the Common Warehouse Metamodel, technical representatives from the Coalition and Object Management Group were working together towards the goal of allowing the two standards to interoperate. At the OMG's meeting September 11-15 in Burlingame, CA, key member companies from both standards groups began performing a "gap analysis" in order to determine the best features from both standards and integrate them together.

"The emergence of a single metadata standard in one of the fastest growing areas of e-Business -- data warehousing and enterprise information portals -- is a crowning achievement for members of MDC and the OMG. The two organizations have agreed to work through their differences for the benefit of customers and vendors facing the daunting task of integrating, analyzing and managing corporate information spread across the Internet," said Sridhar Iyengar, Unisys Fellow and technical liaison between the OMG and MDC.

"As a long supporter of the OMG and a contributor to the OMG's Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM) standard, we're excited that there is now a single data warehouse metadata standard," said Don Haderle, IBM Fellow and vice president of Data Management and Architecture. "Open standards provide our customers the freedom to choose the best tools for their environment, and IBM is committed to supporting important industry standards like the CWM. A single metadata standard means customers and software developers can more effectively implement open data warehouse solutions."

"Two standards is one standard too many for data warehousing," said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president, Advanced Technology for Computer Associates. "Computer Associates has supported both organizations, and is delighted to see this unification taking place."

To get involved in the effort to integrate the CWM and the OIM, please send e-mail to:

About The OMG

With the support of its membership of software vendors, software developers and end users, the OMG's CORBA is "The Middleware That's Everywhere." Since 1989, the OMG has been "Setting The Standards For Distributed Computing" through its mission to promote the theory and practice of object technology for the development of distributed computing systems. The goal is to provide a common architectural framework for object-oriented applications based on widely available interface specifications. The OMG is headquartered in Needham, MA, USA and has international marketing offices around the world, along with US-based industry-specific representatives. More information on the OMG and CORBA is available at and

About The Meta Data Coalition

The Meta Data Coalition (MDC), founded in 1995, is a non-profit consortium of approximately 50 vendors and end-users whose goal is to provide a tactical solution for metadata exchange. Information about the Meta Data Coalition is available through the MDC Web site at

Note to editors: CORBA(R) is a registered trademarks of the Object Management Group. OMG(TM), Object Management Group(TM), XMI(TM), MOF(TM), CWM(TM), UML(TM), and Unified Modeling Language(TM) are trademarks of the Object Management Group. All other products or company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only, and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

 CONTACT: Object Management Group       Meta Data Coalition
          Chris Vander Rhodes           Malissa Williams
          781-444 0404 ext. 115         512-457 9400

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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