Repository - Platform for Tools
Currently the predominant data infrastructure of development tools are libraries and files. This is - conceptually - not a really big step from the stacks of punched cards of the early days of IT.
Since these days the situation has dramatically changed. The number of individual "elements" (programs, description, scripts, pictures, DDLs, configs etc) has grown exponentially. And even worse - the inherent relationships between these elements grew even more. The "datamodel" of development artefacts is still very poor - files are identified with a name (=key), a mime-type or suffix but there are no explicit means to describe the relationships.
Traceability and Relationships
Traceability is an important compliance requirement in business IT. Any changes to programs / configs / databases etc. must be traced back to the requirements which are the reason for this change.
Lifecycle and Versioning
Elements undergo constant changes and versions not only of single elements but also of configurations must be managed. The introduction of a new version without accurate where-used information is a common source of problems. Simple version control of elements without version control of relationships (i.e. configurations) is only part of the solution.
A compliance requirement of COBIT: “DS9 Manage the Configuration” Ensuring the integrity of hardware and software configurations requires the establishment and maintenance of an accurate and complete configuration repository. This process includes collecting initial configuration information, establishing baselines, verifying and auditing configuration information, and updating the configuration repository as needed. Effective configuration management facilitates greater system availability, minimises production issues and resolves issues more quickly.”
Elements and Metadata
Metadata about artefacts of development must be maintained.The metadata must be closely related to the artefacts but are not part of the artefact itself: To embed "documentation" as a comment into a program is obviously not really sufficient.
COBIT “PO2 Define Information Architecture” defines: Enterprise Data Dictionary and Data Syntax Rules - Maintain an enterprise data dictionary that incorporates the organisation’s data syntax rules. This dictionary should enable the sharing of data elements amongst applications and systems, promote a common understanding of data amongst IT and business users, and prevent incompatible data elements from being created.
Complex and volatile Structures
Hundreds of different types of elements (entity-types) with individual attribute types and relationship types must be maintained. The structures are highly volatile and "build to last" structures can not cope with the speed of change. A platform is required where structural changes can be applied on the fly.
Multiuser Access and Access Rights
There are may stakeholdes involved in the investment decision, acquisition or development and production process. Configurable concurrent multiuser access to selected views (submodels) must be provided controlled by access rights.
Metasafe - Platform for IT-Artefacts
Metasafe is a platform designed to support the management of IT-artefacts:
- Metasafe is a complete DBMS with an entity-relationship model
- Metasafe can handle hundreds of entity-types, with individual attribute types connected by relationship types
- Metasafe can handle multiple submodels / views and ensure consistence among the models
- Metasafe can handle multiple manifestations of instances - Catalogs, Variants, Revisions
- Metasafe provides a powerful query language erSQL and an open API
Metasafe is not the solution for all the requirements mentioned. Metasafe is rather an ingredient for the creation of solutions, a data platform which is superior to the commonly used alternatives - libraries of files or a relational database.