Master Data Services

Master Data Services (MDS) is the SQL Server solution for master data management.

Master data management (MDM) describes the efforts made by an organization to discover and define non-transactional lists of data, with the goal of compiling maintainable master lists. An MDM project generally includes an evaluation and restructuring of internal business processes along with the implementation of MDM technology. The result of a successful MDM solution is reliable, centralized data that can be analyzed, resulting in better business decisions.

With the right training, most business users should be able to implement a Master Data Services solution. In addition, you can use MDS to manage any domain; it's not specific to managing lists of customers, products, or accounts. When MDS is first installed, it does not include the structure for any domains—you define the domains you need by creating models for them.

Other Master Data Services features include:

  • Hierarchies that help you adjust to changing business needs and ensure the accuracy of your data.

  • Granular security, so that users can be in charge of the specific data that applies to their work.

  • Transactions that record every change made to data and can be reversed.

  • The ability to save versions of data for auditing or corporate restructuring purposes.

  • Business rules that ensure data quality and can send e-mail notifications when data doesn't meet the rules.

Master Data Services includes the following components and tools:

  • Master Data Services Configuration Manager, a tool you use to create and configure Master Data Services databases and Web applications.

  • Master Data Manager, a Web application you use to perform administrative tasks (like creating a model or business rule), and that users access to update data.

  • Master Data Services Web service, which developers can use to extend or develop custom solutions for Master Data Services.

For more information about MDS, see the SQL Server Master Data Services Portal.