What is an IT infocentre? Definition

What is an IT infocentre? Definition

An infocentre is a concept born in the 1970s. It took root in the need of companies to report on their activities from a database. Here is the story, the definition, the differences with a Data Warehouse.

In this article, we return to an infrastructure that gave birth to Big Data even before the creation of Data Warehousing. This “old” concept in IT is however still used by a good number of companies which have not yet installed a Data Warehouse . This concept, some will have recognized, it is the infocentre.

Infocentre definition

This concept appeared in the 1970s. An infocentre consisted in allocating the computing power of a central computer to various passive terminals such as typewriters or CRT screens to directly call production databases using the systems UNIX, VMS, MVS / TSO, VM / CMS or even Multics. During this period, he used complex query tools using languages ​​like BASIC, FORTRAN or APL. It was put in place to overcome difficulties by analysts. Before this method, they queried a single database with queries that could cause bugs preventing the entry of information on this centralized tool. hethen makes it possible to duplicate the database, the elements of which come from an application, and to carry out on the one hand seizures and on the other, advanced analyzes. All the information of a company is however stored in the same place, often a storage bay present on site.z

This concept has followed the evolution of IT architectures. At the time of the transition to the personal computer era. The treatment of an infocentre is no longer central, but local. Users access the database from software installed on their desktop computer. They can thus carry out reports on the activity of their company. They have benefited from significant advantages in managing their business and leading their strategies. The creation of a concept of this type dedicated to HR was commonplace in the 1980s.

Infocentre VS Data Warehouse

On the other hand, an information center consumed a lot of IT resources. This sometimes limited companies that often integrate only one source of data, coming from a professional application. Conflicts between applications connected to a server were largely responsible for this. The cost of deployment was significant, while the data was not historicized.

Conversely, a data warehouse, a concept theorized in the mid-1990s, makes it possible to overcome some of these faults . In this concept, it involves preparing historicized data and organizing it in silos through Datamart. Each business can access the cleaned data corresponding to their needs and benefit from decision support. In addition, the information processed comes more easily from several applications . Compared to an infocentre, the Data Warehouse consumes fewer resources and is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The definition of the first tool given by the CNRS tends to induce confusion between the two concepts are very close.

This IT scheme is therefore an ancestor of Data Warehousing which is at the origin of BI or business intelligence in English. It has inspired the name of many companies, including Infocentre, an IT solutions integrator based in Bourges. The same is true for the Infocentre of the Esus group, based in Saran.

Software Infocentre

This decision information system is still used by some companies. This is the case of hospitals and SMEs that do not need Data Warehouse like large groups. Companies such as CTI Santé, the Esus group, or even Software id still offer this type of Infocentre in software form or available from the Cloud. Institutions funded by the authorities also use this type of structure. This is the case of the CNRS or the Ministry of National Education.

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