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What Is Single Version of the Truth?

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  • Written By: T.S. Adams
  • Edited By: M. C. Hughes
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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The single version of the truth approach to record storing requires that a business have either one central database housing all company records, or, as an alternative, a distributed synchronized database accomplishing the same goal. Concurrency — having a single, undisputed set of verified information — in business file management is of utmost importance, ensuring that everyone within an organization is on the same page when it comes to data, records, and statistics. A single version of the truth file management schema enforces concurrency by ensuring that there is only one possible "storehouse" containing the company's records.

Non-single versions truth file storage methods, in which companies risk having redundancy in data storage, can easily become flawed. Imagine a company that stores its information in two separate, unlinked databases: Database A and Database B. Now imagine that an employee makes a change to the price of soap in Database A, but forgets to make the corresponding change in Database B. The concurrency of the databases is now in question. From that point on, no employees that consult the databases will be able to determine the price of soap. By keeping information in separate storehouses, disagreements between the databases result in difficult-to-solve problems.

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The single version of the truth method addresses this by ensuring that there is only one go-to location for any given value in the database. Since only one "answer" exists, there can never be any disagreement or conflicts in the system. Although this does not preclude data entry errors, which occur when a user mistakenly enters and saves the wrong value for an item, it does prevent concurrency concerns. If a mistake is made, it becomes much simpler to sort out and fix.

Single version of the truth approaches to data storage do have their drawbacks. For larger companies, with massive records spanning several decades, storing all information in a single repository can become prohibitive from both cost and efficiency standpoints. Extensive data storage solutions, such as computers running four or more large-scale hard drives, are highly expensive. Additionally, keeping one massive database is often more complicated than keeping multiple smaller databases.

Finally, the centralization of single version of the truth data storage model's greatest strength is also one of its greatest weaknesses. By compacting all data into a single virtual warehouse, problems with the hard drives storing the information or with the computer housing the drives can severely cripple the organization. If the central database hub crashes, everyone in the entire company will be left "out in the cold" until the system is placed online again.

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