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What are the best methodologies for testing data integration?

    Ask The Experts published in DMReview.com
February 1, 2007
  By Chuck Kelley and Clay Rehm

Question: What are the best methodologies for testing data integration?

Chuck Kelley's Answer: I believe that the answer is the same as any other testing paradigm - you do unit testing (does all the code run through each component correctly), system testing (end-to-end testing using unit testing tests plus reconciliation of totals and spot checking details while checking on performance) and user-acceptance testing (yep, the users must decided whether the stuff is right or not!).

Clay Rehm Answer: I have found that the best testing strategy is the one that is developed specifically for your own business processes. Working with my business partners, we develop a "scenarios" document that lists each specific business process scenario, no matter how insignificant. We then set up a test case for each scenario and list the before and after desired result. Does this take time? It sure does. However, the time saved in programming changes far makes up for it.

When it comes to overlapping processes, which happens quite often in data integration, each process must be documented and tested, and a priority must be attached to each process to identify which goes first, second and so on.

For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Data Integration and Project Management/Tool Selection.

Chuck Kelley is an internationally known expert in database and data warehousing technology. He has 30 years of experience in designing and implementing operational/production systems and data warehouses. Kelley has worked in some facet of the design and implementation phase of more than 50 data warehouses and data marts. He also teaches seminars, co-authored four books on data warehousing and has been published in many trade magazines on database technology, data warehousing and enterprise data strategies. He can be contacted at chuckkelley@usa.net.

Clay Rehm, CCP, PMP, is president of Rehm Technology (www.rehmtech.com), a consulting firm specializing in data integration solutions. Rehm provides hands-on expertise in project management, assessments, methodologies, data modeling, database design, metadata and systems analysis, design and development. He has worked in multiple platforms and his experience spans operational and data warehouse environments. Rehm is a technical book editor and is a co-author of the book, Impossible Data Warehouse Situations with Solutions from the Experts. In addition, he is a Certified Computing Professional (CCP), a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Science and a Masters Degree in Software Engineering from Carroll College. He can be reached at clay.rehm@rehmtech.com.

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