As defined by its most vocal proponent, Doug Hackney—is not a methodology or architecture per se, but a concession to the natural forces that undermine the best laid plans for deploying a perfect system. A federated approach rationalizes the use of whatever means possible to integrate analytical resources to meet changing needs or business conditions.
Hackney says the federated approach is “an architecture of architectures.” It recommends how to integrate a multiplicity of heterogeneous data warehouses, data marts, and packaged applications that companies have already deployed and will continue to implement in spite of the IT group’s best effort to enforce standards and adhere to a specific architecture.
The major problem with the federated approach is that it is not well documented. There are only a few columns written on the subject. But perhaps this is enough, as it doesn’t prescribe a specific end-state or approach. Another potential problem is that without a specific architecture in mind, a federated approach can perpetuate the continued decentralization and fragmentation of analytical resources, making it harder to deliver an enterprise view in the end. Also, integrating meta data is a pernicious problem in a heterogeneous, ever-changing environment.