PaaS Partner Community

  • May 14, 2017

Benefits of a Canonical Data Model (CDM) in a SOA environment by Emiel Paasschens

Juergen Kress
PaaS Partner Adoption




The last few years I’ve been working in several SOA related projects, small projects as well as quite large projects. Almost all of these projects use a Canonical Data Model (CDM). In this post I will explain what a CDM is and point out what the benefits are of using it in an integration layer or a Service Oriented (SOA) environment.

What is a Canonical Data Model?

The Canonical Data Model (CDM) is a data model that covers all data from connecting systems and/or partners. This does not mean the CDM is just a merge of all the data models. The way the data is modelled will be different from the connected data models, but still the CDM is able to contain all the data from the connecting data models. This means there is always a one way, unambiguous translation of data from the CDM to the connecting data model and vice versa.
A good metaphor for this in spoken languages is the Esperanto language. Each living, existing spoken language can be translated to the constructed Esperanto language and vice versa.
In a CDM data translation, the translation is not restricted to the way the data is modelled, but will also be a translation of the values of the data itself.

Example Data

Let’s take as an example the country values for the US and The Netherlands in four connecting data models. Three of these models are ‘based’ on the English language and the last one on the Dutch language. The first two data models are of type XML, the third one is CSV and the last one is a JSON type model: Read the complete article here.

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