Established in 1989, the Object Management Group™ (OMG™, http://www.omg.org) is the world’s largest software consortium with an international membership of vendors, developers, and end users. OMG’s mission is to help computer users solve enterprise integration problems by supplying open, vendor-neutral portability, interoperability and reusability specifications based on Model Driven Architecture® (MDA®, http://www.omg.org/mda/). MDA employs technology agnostic models to address the dynamics of business and technology changes by shielding your investment into models from ever changing implementation platforms. In addition, standards built using MDA principles permit management of complete life cycle of your enterprise metadata (business and/or technical).
OMG’s Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM, http://www.omg.org/technology/cwm/) has been successful and is mature and stable, with widespread and increasing adoption by vendors and customers for metadata interchange: most widely in the area of relational database information. The uptake has been somewhat hampered by CWM’s name – many of the potential uses of CWM have no connection with building or managing data warehouses. Hence the proposed name for the new standard is Information Management Metamodel instead of CWM 2.x.
The Unified Modeling language™ (UML®, http://www.uml.org/) is a core standard of MDA, and over the years, many UML vendors and end users have expressed a desire to use UML for data and XML modeling and ended up defining their own tool-specific profiles for each. As a result, there is neither an accepted standard nor interoperability of models developed using such profiles/tools. One aim of the Information Management Metamodel (IMM, http://www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doc?ab/05-12-02) is to bridge the gap between the UML, data and XML modeling worlds. The data modeling community still has quite a high level of resistance to the UML notation: the vision of IMM is to allow tools to switch between UML and the other notations as easily as tools today allow switching between IDEF1X and (some variant of) IE. This will have significant benefits for improved communication between different communities (even database designers and developers in the same organization). OMG has issued a RFP (Request For Proposals) for IMM, soliciting proposals for a standard metamodel to address the needs of Information Management. This includes the scope of the existing Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM) standard but is extended to cover the following areas:
- Metamodel for Information Management (IMM)
- UML2 Profile for Relational Data Modeling, with a mapping to the IMM metamodel and SQL DDL
- UML2 Profile for Logical (Entity Relationship) Data Modeling, with a mapping to the IMM metamodel
- UML2 Profile for XML Data Modeling, with a mapping to the IMM metamodel and XML Schema
- UML2 Profile for Record Modeling, with a mapping to the IMM metamodel and COBOL Copybooks
- A standardized ‘Information Engineering’ data modeling notation with a mapping to the IMM metamodel