Blockchain on Data Modeling

Blockchain on Data Modeling

I am talking about the impact of blockchain on data modeling for an upcoming ER/Studio Webinar, and here are a few of the impacts I think we will face:

  • Herding cats. If you have the word “data” or “analyst” in your job title, no doubt at some point you came across Excel spreadsheets or Access databases that were used to run critical parts of the business. Excel and Access are easy to use and quick to get up and running, and therefore they exist in too many places and we lose control over this data. Blockchain is Excel on steroids, allowing us to store more data in spreadsheet format easily and have many more people use the spreadsheet than if it exists on a single computer.  We will need to model the data put on the blockchain, before it is put on the blockchain, making the logical data model an even more important deliverable.
  • It’s about the keys. Blockchain creates a “trustless” system by never exposing sensitive business keys, such as Social Security numbers or credit card information. Blockchain calls the business keys “private keys” and the keys that can be exposed “public keys”. Most business keys will be treated as private keys, and most surrogate keys become public keys. However, there will be exceptions and it will require the physical data model not just capture surrogates and business keys, but also public and private. There could be additional keys, or the same key may play multiple roles.
  • Bet on the enterprise data model. Blockchain will require tighter alignment between data modeling and data architecture, making the enterprise data model even more significant. We need to know what data is in which blockchains, for example. We need to know if we modify the length of an attribute, what will be the impact. We need to know if we retire a blockchain, who needs to be notified.

Please share your thoughts!

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