Data Mesh Sandwich

Data mesh has been generating buzz as a “hot topic in enterprise software” and “more than just hype”. But what even is “data mesh”?

The term’s creator Zhamak Dehghani defines it as “socio-technological concept”. Her 2020 article describes 4 main principles that I think can be interpreted in simple terms with… a grilled cheese sandwich. Hear me out on this.

1) “Domain-oriented decentralized data ownership and architecture.” It makes sense for the bread data to be owned by the bakers and cheese data by the dairy folks. In the real world, this can be a tricky architecture and “ownership” of anything in big enterprises is a minefield.

2) “Data as a product”. Imagine ordering a grilled cheese sandwich and getting a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese? But that’s exactly how data delivery works in many enterprises. Wouldn’t you prefer to get what you ordered?

3) “Self-serve data infrastructure as a platform” – since the self-order kiosks got installed at Panera Bread, I haven’t spoken to a single person there (an introvert’s dream!). Being self-sufficient is empowering.

4) “Federated computational governance” – there should be a general agreement on what a grilled cheese sandwich consists of. Not an easy task since many people are super passionate about their regional recipes. And governance is where projects go to die.

Overall, I think data mesh is an interesting concept that goes well with tomato soup… err… event-based and microservice architecture. It might not be for everyone but is worth considering.

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