How a Hub-and-Spoke architecture can help manage data

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As hub-and-spoke distribution models have helped revolutionize countless sectors, their translation into digital architectures is making significant inroads into data management for the modern company. Simply put, a hub-and-spoke model consists of a centralized architecture connecting to multiple spokes (nodes). It makes sense that this is considered the ideal paradigm for data integration solutions.

In fact, an interesting report published by Forrester Research a few years ago indicated that hub-and-spoke architectures were key to getting businesses to maximize the value of their data. We’re living in a “data is the new oil” era and most companies are aware that harnessing its power will be essential for future growth. However, many are still stuck in conventional architectures that do not serve their best interest. Forrester Research points to the single enterprise data warehouse dilemma: it was a good option in the past but is now hindering data management capabilities. Instead, a hub-and-spoke distributed architecture with different kinds of data repositories is a better approach for the future.

It’s what some aviation experts propose for the digitization of the aviation industry, which literally took off based on a hub-and-spoke paradigm – the centralization of operations in certain airports with star-shaped connections to spokes.

What are the key advantages of such an architecture, which passes data transfers through a centralized hub? For one, it’s an intelligible and flexible concept that can be organized in a myriad of ways, giving businesses immense possibilities.

Secondly, the company can reuse the spoke interface it has built over and over again, making the development faster. This means the number of interfaces needed is lower, especially when compared to a point-to-point architecture. In the latter, systems will talk directly with one another, which is simpler at first; however, it also means adding more systems and scaling the network is complex and costly. A hub system might require higher initial investment, but it proves to be a smarter move over time. According to Forrester Research’s report, that’s the goal: looking at it as a future-proof investment in the world of big data and smart analytics.

That’s not to say the two paradigms are complete opposites, as it is possible to have point-to-point communication complementing the hub-and-spoke model and thus creating the most useful data integration hybrid.

Turning to this approach also allows businesses to adapt more easily, get better value out of the technology they invest in and build complex, scalable platforms with less risk and more simplicity.

As we previously mentioned in our blog, there are some hurdles to account for and overcome – namely, the possible performance bottleneck created by a single-server data flow architecture. More servers will allow data processing to be more scalable, so a hybrid model is a great option to meet all the integration and data management needs, will mitigate the inflexibility of day-to-day operations caused by this centralization and remove the single-point-of-failure that is a hindrance to this type of architecture.

 

References:       
Forrester Research, “Deliver on Big Data Potential With a Hub-And-Spoke Architecture”
nChannel, “4 Business Benefits of a Hub-Spoke Integration Architecture”
IPFS, “Spoke-hub distribution paradigm”
Sabre, “The digital hub-and-spoke: A new era of business intelligence for airlines”

 

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