What is a data fabric?

Capabilities that connect data to where it needs to be

A data fabric is an architectural pattern that dynamically orchestrates disparate sources across a hybrid and multicloud landscape to provide business-ready data that supports applications, analytics and business process automation. It helps businesses meet the need for having the right data just in time, at the optimum cost, with end-to-end governance, regardless of where the data is stored.

A data fabric is agnostic to deployment platforms, data process, data use, geographical locations and architectural approach. It facilitates the use of data as an enterprise asset. A data fabric ensures various kinds of data can be successfully combined, accessed and governed efficiently and effectively.

With governance, security and regulatory compliance built into the fabric consistently across all data, an enterprise data fabric architecture delivers trusted data, resulting in trusted outcomes for your AI initiatives. It yields cost and operational efficiencies by eliminating the need for independent tools that need to be manually integrated. And when leveraging the cloud and an open source foundation, a data fabric can deliver the scale and compute power required for digital transformation and digital business. 

IBM Cloud Pak® for Data is one of the only platforms that enables a distributed data fabric that is hybrid and multicloud. IBM Cloud Pak for Data enables just-in-time access to the right data across any cloud and on premises, at the optimum cost, with the appropriate level of governance.

How can you get more value from your data?
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How can you get more value from your data? (02:19)

Intelligent data fabric announced as part of the next generation IBM Cloud Pak® for Data

Data fabric use cases

Self-service data use

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Enable self-service data consumption

Self-service, real-time data access enables business users to spend less time finding the right data and more time exploring data to discover tangible insights for faster response to market changes.

Automated governance

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Automate governance, protection and security

Apply industry-specific governance rules in a matter of minutes across the enterprise by using active metadata to enable automatic policy enforcement for any data access.

Multicloud data integration

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Integrate data across any cloud

Make trusted data available quickly in hybrid and multicloud data landscapes. Automate data engineering to simplify access to data. Re-use data management capabilities for greater efficiencies.

Featured IBM product

Products related to the data fabric

IBM Watson® Knowledge Catalog

Catalog knowledge and analytics assets wherever they reside.

IBM® DataStage®

Use industry-leading data integration to deliver trusted data at scale across multicloud environments.

IBM Master Data Management for IBM Cloud Pak for Data

Ensure the most up-to-date and accurate view of data.

Why IBM for data fabric solutions

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Data fabric versus data lake versus data warehouse

Data management tools have evolved from databases to data warehouses to data lakes, each being developed to help solve new business problems. A data fabric can be seen as the next step in the evolution of these tools. It simplifies the management of data residing in disparate data repositories. A data fabric enables organizations to leverage their data by facilitating self-service data consumption, embedding governance and automating the data integration process. This helps optimize as well as accelerate data analysis for better, faster insights.

Data fabric versus data virtualization

Data virtualization is one of the technologies that enables a data fabric approach. Rather than physically moving the data from various on-premises and cloud sources using the standard ETL (extract, transform, load) process, the data virtualization tool connects to the different sources, integrates only the metadata required and creates a virtual data layer. This allows users to leverage the source data in real time.

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