Should Business Data Have An Audit Trail?

The “second slide” I would lead with from Stuart Halloway’s Datomic, and How We Built It would be:

Should Business Data Have An Audit Trail?

Actually Stuart’s slide #65 but who’s counting? 😉

Stuart points out the irony of git, saying:

developer data is important enough to have an audit trail, but business data is not

Whether business data should always have an audit trail would attract shouts of yes and no, depending on the audience.

Regulators, prosecutors, good government types, etc., mostly shouting yes.

Regulated businesses, security brokers, elected officials, etc., mostly shouting no.

Some in between.

Datomic, which has some common characteristics with topic maps, gives you the ability to answer these questions:

  • Do you want auditable business data or not?
  • If yes to auditable business data, to what degree?

Rather different that just assuming it isn’t possible.


Datomic is a database of flexible, time-based facts, supporting queries and joins, with elastic scalability and ACID transactions. Datomic queries run your application process, giving you both declarative and navigational access to your data. Datomic facts (“datoms”) are time-aware and distributed to all system peers, enabling OLTP, analytics, and detailed auditing in real time from a single system.

In this talk, I will begin with an overview of Datomic, covering the problems that it is intended to solve and how its data model, transaction model, query model, and deployment model work together to solve those problems. I will then use Datomic to illustrate more general points about designing and implementing production software, and where I believe our industry is headed. Key points include:

  • the pragmatic adoption of functional programming
  • how dynamic languages fare in mission- and performance- critical settings
  • the importance of data, and the perils of OO
  • the irony of git, or why developers give themselves better databases than they give their customers
  • perception, coordination, and reducing the barriers to scale


  • Video from CME Group Technology Conference 2012
  • Slides from CME Group Technology Conference 2012

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