PDM Interoperability Survey - the view of the Public Petroleum Data Model Association (June 1998)

Following last month's contribution to PDM's Interoperability Survey from David Archer of POSC, Dave Fisher and Doug Benson of the Calgary-based Public Petroleum Data Model Association (PPDM) describe their 'pragmatic' approach to the problem.

The PPDM approach to interoperability is above all a pragmatic one. We believe that it is important to promote implementable "solutions" to the industry that can be profitability developed by vendors to be installed in a cost effective manner to Oil Companies. We advocate methods and tools which can be put to real, immediate use. Some of the PPDM benefits are:

standard definitions for a common physical database accessed by all inter-operating systems (admittedly, something of an ideal). However, the industry will never get to a interoperability model definition and technology unless we provide a measurement process which will help point out deficiencies in our standard model product.

standard definitions of views on non-compliant databases allowing for interoperability between foreign applications. We want to application developers improve the ROR on their investments. Foreign applications besides being proprietary systems or other standard models, can also mean "older" versions of PPDM.

definition and measurement of compliance with the published data model. Each of these benefits have direct financial "added-value" to all of the PPDM member participant constituencies. While commercial interoperability may be hard to define, even a rough and ready compliance measurement allows users and buyers to initially estimate the overhead involved in incorporating a new database. A attractive feature of vendor software to the oil company market place will be a high rating of PPDM Compliance.

a reference data model for developers working in the area of inter-application data exchange and transformation

a standard data model for operational databases and data warehouses with data transfer to domain specific applications for limited inter-operability

real-world solution

The world is increasingly moving to multiple-database systems and this is where we believe PPDM's design principles and philosophy can be put to good effect. By offering real-world solutions to common problems of database design, and by offering cross-platform views of data, users can link different commercial PPDM implementations with minimal effort. Our measurement of compliance even allows an evaluation of this effort before implementation. Ultimately the PPDM route to interoperability, like all other non-commercial efforts, has not brought about interoperability through a single "mega", or virtually distributed, database. However, this technical issue has not been important enough to address and solve by the membership when measurement to the standard has not been necessary in the past. But this paradigm generally seems to be losing ground in favor of the linkage of multiple domain-specific databases. This is where databases designed utilizing the PPDM data model, or even deploying PPDM views of data are beginning to provide users with interoperable solutions. This is in reality a very similar approach (minus the hype!) to that adopted in the various 'Business Objects' initiatives.


Finally we would like to underline another major difference between PPDM and other database models, which although it has nothing to do with interoperability, is arguably more important. A technically non-measurable solution is financially impractical. PPDM's pragmatic approach enables application developers and commercial data vendors to deploy systems that ensure integrity, quality assurance, currency and accessibility in a measurable, cost-effective manner. It is the facility of deployment of the PPDM data model that has enabled users to leverage the PPDM solution into industrial-strength, robust solutions both commercially and in the context of the corporate database.

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