Ontologies are the Esperanto for the Babel Fish of the 21st Century (part 06)


Layered Architecture

Ontologies are applicable to all of the layers within the ISO Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) [25] 7 layer model.The image below shows the OMGs mapping of it’s standards to the SOA layers. 

 OMG Standards Applied To Soa Layers[28] [30]

Although the ODM is shown in the upper right along the business services row the ODM standard is referenced from many other OGM specifications and standards. For example the IMM RFI at the bottom right along the Operational Resources row also references the ODM standards. Furthermore the Event Driven Architecture (EDA) and its relationship with SOA & BPM DRAFT RFI 06-09-02 [30] also references the ODM and ontologies in reference to Complex Event Processing (CEP). CEP has applicability across all the layers of the 7 layer model [27], and by extension the SOA layers.

Canonical Data Models

Ontologies are closely related to Canonical Data Models as espoused by Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf in their book Enterprise Integration Patterns. The following is an extract from that book;

”How can you minimize dependencies when integrating applications that use different data formats?

Canonical Data Model

Therefore, design a Canonical Data Model that is independent from any specific application. Require each application to produce and consume messages in this common format.

The Canonical Data Model provides an additional level of indirection between application’s individual data formats. If a new application is added to the integration solution only transformation between the Canonical Data Model has to created, independent from the number of applications that already participate.”[3]

Canonical Data Models are also sometime referred to in the literature as Canonical Domain Models where both have the acronym CDM. There are also references to Enterprise Canonical Data Models (ECDM).

TODO: More on Canonical Data Models. Examples of Ontologies as Canonical Data Models.

Information Architecture

One of the important emerging enterprise information architecture undertakings has become the creation and maintenance of a Master Data Management (MDM) capability. MDM shall be one of the ways in which, via a top down approach, ontologies shall be manifest in the enterprise.

MDM Overview

”Master Data Management (MDM) is often defined as “management of master data (customer, product, supplier, etc.) that is shared across disparate IT systems and groups.” However, this simplistic description doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the MDM’s task and problem area. Master Data Management encompasses areas such as Customer Data Integration (CDI), Product Information Management (PIM), and Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN); and partially overlaps the areas of Identity Management System (IdM), Business Intelligence systems, data quality, and data integration. This broad area of potential application causes multiple perspectives, diversity of stakeholders, and a fair amount of confusion across clients investigating an MDM solution.”[38]

MDM Historical Perspective[39]

MDM Taxonomies

For taxonomies read ontologies.

”Registries are being used for Metadata, as such they should be – at the bottom level of a Taxonomy is a registry. The first step to successful enterprise Metadata Management or governance is getting a handle on the Taxonomy of the business and the metadata used within the business. This is critical to identifying and governing specific components of the MDM strategy. Taxonomies should be utilized to manage, govern, and view (visualize) the metadata from an enterprise perspective. However, the act of building a metadata management solution, or a Master Data Management solution requires the implementation of a classification with a registry or set of registries underneath.Master Metadata (at a very simplistic viewpoint) really is a data-driven taxonomy (representation) of the BUSINESS. Without tying our master data back to the business it will lose value quickly within the company, and eventually end up where all master systems end-up… in the sunset on the horizon…”[35]


”Making every service contract depend on the One True Schema will make it impossible for the services to evolve separately, they will no longer be autonomous. A simple change to e.g. the order entity will cause a ripple effect through all referring services. This is where CDM comes into play, it allows you to version and evolve the services independently of each other; of course in addition to enabling EDA in your service oriented solution. Note that you will still need to do master data management (MDM), do not misuse CDM as an excuse to slip into master data anarchy in your internal systems. CDM is about a shared meta-data model for event and message formats; it is not about controlling entity creation and lifecycle, or about adhering to legislations such as Sarbanes-Oxley.”[37]”An agile service-oriented MDM system provides its data quality, conformance, and other MDM functionality as business or data “services” available for net-enabled consumption by external parties. Finally, MDM systems should … be able to expose the master data model as part of the enterprise canonical data model (CDM) for service consumption.”[38]MDM SOA Data Service Layer[39]

Object Orientation

Services design implemented via OO. Still require good OO. OO services need Loose coupling & High cohesion.

”The design principles governing SOA are primarily object-oriented paradigms extended to address the service-oriented requirements. These service design principles include: loose coupling, service contract, abstraction, compensability, autonomy, reusability, statelessness, and discoverability.”[38]

Soa Layer sOf Design[47]

TODO: More on OO and Ontologies and Canonical Data Models


Message Oriented Middelware (MOM)

TODO: More on MOM and Ontologies and Canonical Data Models

TODO: Loose coupleing of highly cohesive services.


One Response to “Ontologies are the Esperanto for the Babel Fish of the 21st Century (part 06)”

  1. satyamurty Says:

    send article
    Ontologies are the Esperanto for the Babel Fish of the 21st Century

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