Data fabric

From Science Europe Data Glossary

Definition: a data fabric is a real-time data sharing facility specifically optimised for working with operational data needed by real-time applications.

Alternative definition: According to the Data Fabric Interest Group of the Research Data Alliance, "the loose concept of data fabric is a more nuanced view of data, data management and data relations along with the supporting set of software and hardware infrastructure components that are used to manage this data, along with associated information, and knowledge."

Explanation: data fabric is an overarching term, as yet used in a number of different, loosely related ways, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes more concrete. Metaphorically, data fabric is a near synonym to "overall framework""; in the metaphoric sense, fabric is used to illustrate the idea that if someone were to document data infrastructure components and their relationships on paper, the lines would weave back and forth so densely that the diagram would resemble a woven piece of cloth. In the context of grid computing, data fabric has been defined as a synonym to data grid, handling access, distribution, and management of large amounts of distributed data. A data fabric allows any application to access any (business or research) data regardless of the data format or where the data is physically, or logically, located.

Alernative definition: a data fabrics is a distributed data management platforms that pool memory across multiple processes to manage application objects and behaviour. The key characteristics of a data fabric are that it:

  • Provides a unified view of disparate data sources
  • Encapsulates intelligence for information flow
  • Integrates with other grids
  • Provides centralised administration
  • Enables high-performance and scalability

Alternative definition: The term fabric is commonly used to describe data or storage area networks (SANs). Increasingly, however, vendors are using the term to describe the servers, high-speed connections and switches that make up a grid or cloud computing platform.