The Future Home of Data
Johann-Christoph Freytag
Institut f'tir Informatik
Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin
1. Overview
Over the last year the question of how and where to store
data and how to access it has become pressing issue.
Especially with the growing importance of E-Commerce
and the widely used Intemet access it is not clear any
more if one approach satisfies all the needs of different
communities accessing and processing data.
XML currently seems to be the most favored form for
presenting, exchanging and possibly storing data. New
technology "waves" such as Web Services, an
"interaction model" between businesses and customers
(B2C) or among business themselves (B2B) heavily rely
on XML data because semantic information can be
intertwined with the data. Many companies in the E-
Commerce space assume XML to be the "universal data
format" for the future when storing and accessing data.
Database management systems (DBMSs) have been the
"modem" technology for the last 40 years (with different
data models and different levels of functionality and
sophistication) to store, to access and to manipulate large
amounts of data. This technology comes with many
properties embedded in subsystems of DBMSs that is
essential for reliable, efficient information processing in
the business world, such as transaction management and
query processing. Over the years, DBMSs have changed
their assumptions where data might reside for access and
processing. The initial assumption that all data is stored
centrally changed to a "distributed model" by assuming
that data is spread over several locations. The latter
model quickly extended into a federated one assuming
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Proceedings of the 28 th VLDB Conference,
Hong Kong, China, 2002
that "data sources" might be autonomous and not always
under the control of one (database) system at the same
time acknowledging that data might come in different
Despite the "new technology waves" one has to
acknowledge that data is still stored as "flat files" without
structural information or other relevant "meta data" that
might be important for efficient access and correct
Besides the form of the data its location, i.e. where to find
data that might be relevant and important for a user to
perform a particular task, has become an important issue.
Having many devices such as mobile phones, Notebooks,
PDAs and other mobile devices, those often need data
from other sources, at the same time storing
new/additional data that might be relevant for others to
perform their tasks successfully. Some devices, such as
mobile phone, exist in large numbers; they perform tasks
different from a computing device, still their capabilities
as storage processing devices (limited capabilities) make
them an important data generation source and storage
device that must be included into current and future
processing environments.
Panel members from industry and academia have been
asked to address the following issues in the statements:
What are the different alternatives for storing and
accessing data for the future?
What are the characteristics for storage now and
in the future?
Is XML the universal answer to all future needs,
does it take over the "world of data"?
Should existing DBMSs be thrown away?
Should existing DBMSs be changed to adapt to
new requirements and challenges?
Are XML-DBMS the answer to all needs?
Is the role/functionality of DBMSs changing?
How to we deal with the many (mobile) devices
as devices for data storage and data processing?
What are the "fight" assumptions about
distribution and heterogeneity of data?
What is the industrial and/or academic approach
to deal with this challenge?
What are the trade-offs between different
2. Panelists
Mike Franklin, Univ. of Berkeley, CA, U.S.A.
Guido Moerkotte, Univ. Mannheim, Germany
Guy Lohman, IBM Almaden Research, U.S.A.
Paul Larson, Microsoft Research, U.S.A.

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