Sunday, April 06, 2008

Applications and Data == Importance Envy?

I was recently reading an interesting posting (and comments) over on Doug Burns' Blog:

Doug's blog is a great resource and I encourage you to check it out if you have a few spare minutes.

I found this interesting because the "debate" around which is more important -- the application or the data -- raises its head every now and then. Now, my being a DBA in my "day job" may automatically bias me in this context; however, I was a developer before I was a DBA. This, of course, does not mean I am bias-free, but I do hope that I am not so closed-minded that I may see both sides of a discussion.

When I hear this question (which is more important? the application? or the data? OK, so that is three questions, but you understand.) I immediately think of a question I was posed long ago in school - which is more important, the heart or the blood? Of course there is not a perfect correlation between biology and applications and data, but I think that is not an unreasonable analogy. While not exactly easy, it is possible to find other mechanisms to transport the blood, but it is not so easy to replace the blood itself.

Clearly both applications and data are important. However, rather than necessarily declare one to be more important than the other, my inclination is to view them in terms of life span. Often I hear something along the lines of: An application is used to access the data. To me this implies that there may be more than one application or a series of applications over time whereas the data itself is not really viewed as having multiple incarnations. If I may borrow a quote from The Kinks: "Rocks bands will come and rock bands will go, but Rock 'n Roll will go on forever!" (From a live performance of "All Day and All of the Night" as I recall).