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Data Architecture is the design of data for use in defining the target state and the subsequent planning needed to hit the target state. Data Architecture is one of the pillars of Enterprise Architecture and handshakes with its peer pillars of Business Architecture, Application Architecture and Integration Architecture.

Essential to realizing the target state, Data Architecture describes how data is processed, stored, and utilized in a given system. It provides criteria for data processing operations that make it possible to design data flows and also control the flow of data in the system.

The Data Architect is responsible for defining the target state, alignment during development and then minor follow up to ensure enhancements are done in the spirit of the original blueprint.

During the definition of the target state, the Data Architecture breaks a subject down to the atomic level and then builds it back up to the desired form. The Data Architect breaks the subject down by going through

3 traditional architectural processes:

Conceptual - represents all business entities.
Logical - represents the logic of how entities are related.
Physical - the realization of the data mechanisms for a specific type of functionality.

In this second, broader sense, data architecture includes a complete analysis of the relationships between an organization's functions, available technologies, and data types.

Data architecture should be defined in the planning phase of the design of a new data processing and storage system. The major types and sources of data necessary to support an enterprise should be identified in a manner that is complete, consistent, and understandable. The primary requirement at this stage is to define all of the relevant data entities, not to specify computer hardware items. A data entity is any real or abstracted thing about which an organization or individual wishes to store data.


1 Physical data architecture                 
2 Elements of data architecture          
3 Forces at work                                     
4 Sources                                                
5 External links                                       


Physical data architecture :

Physical data architecture of an information system is part of a technology plan. As its name implies, the technology plan is focused on the actual tangible elements to be used in the implementation of the data architecture design. Physical data architecture encompasses database architecture. Database architecture is a schema of the actual database technology that will support the designed data architecture.