The Datawarehousing Institute, aka the TDWI, is giving away volume 25 of its "What Works in Data Integration," a 56-page e-magazine filled with case studies, vendor Q&As, and a particularly beefy article on data integration architecture.
Of course, you'll need to be ready to hand over your e-mail address, contact information, and a bit of demographics on your company -- but I think it's worth it. You can also opt for a slew of other data-related white papers, though be forewarned: All of the ones I chose were pushing specific vendor products.
TDWI is a group focused on data warehousing and business intelligence education and training. It also has a small research branch, which includes senior manager Philip Russom. I interviewed Russom earlier this year about the top trends in the data integration market. He knows his stuff; I'm sure most of you recognize his name and already know him by reputation.
Russom wrote the feature article, "Data Integration Architecture: What It Does, Where It's Going, Why You Should Care." I've only been able to give it a quick read, but that was enough to know it's a hefty piece. He's arguing for recognition of data integration architecture as a discipline, but he also walks through the pros and cons of different data integration approaches.
He also predicts that data integration architecture is set to go service-oriented, though he foresees services as extending, rather than replacing, hubs. The feature also offers a list of recommendations, which I really liked since practical takeaways are a bit unusual in high-level technology pieces.
Much of the remainder of the magazine is case studies, some written by vendors, but many also written by technologists on staff at the profiled companies (though in many cases, they are talking about how specific vendor offerings helped address their business problem).
There's also a Q&A with vendors that takes the rather unusual and very effective approach of asking vendors general data integration questions as well as questions about their specific solution and then showing you their answer, plus the perspective of independent consultant Mark Hammond.
Of course, data integration isn't something you just do for fun. There are a lot of related disciplines, including data governance, data warehousing and master data management -- all of which are defined and covered in this thorough, useful -- and did I mention free? - e-magazine. (To be fair, you may wish you'd been able to buy a copy at the newsstand, since it's a bit hard to read online and you may end up printing it - as I intend to - for later perusing offline.)