Composite Delivers Latest Enterprise Information-Integration Software - InformationWeek

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12/20/2004
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Composite Delivers Latest Enterprise Information-Integration Software

Enterprise information-integration software, once touted as a data warehouse alternative, is catching on for real-time reporting tasks.

Composite Software Inc. unveiled on Monday a new release of its enterprise information-integration software with performance enhancements, new read-write capabilities, and support for an increased range of data sources.

Composite Information Server 3.0 comes as enterprise information-integration technology seems to be gaining traction in real-time reporting applications. Vendors, however, are backing off claims that the technology is a substitute for expensive data-warehouse systems. On the plus side, it's no longer confused with enterprise application-integration software.

Enterprise information-integration software is used to provide a consolidated view of data scattered across multiple sources, allowing users to query that data as though it resides in a single database. For example, a bank could use the software to collect information from multiple data sources to gain a single view of a customer.

Vendors offering the integration software include such heavyweights as BEA Systems and IBM, as well as smaller companies such as Attunity, Avaki, Composite, and MetaMatrix.

When the enterprise information-integration software began to appear nearly two years ago, some vendors said it could replace the data-extraction, transformation, and loading software used to build data warehouses, which are repositories of historical data.

Enterprise information-integration software works at a higher level, providing a consolidated view of historical data in a data warehouse combined with live data from operational databases such as those that underlie financial or supply-chain-management applications, says Colin White, an independent business intelligence analyst and consultant. "A lot of people have that need and that's the direction [enterprise information integration] is going," he says.

The integration software "doesn't replace a data warehouse," says Forrester Research analyst Philip Russom. He says that 60% of his clients who use enterprise information-integration software are using it to enhance a reporting system.

Composite CEO Jim Green last week said his product targets next-generation reporting applications and isn't an alternative to a data warehouse or operational data store. Earlier this month, Composite inked a deal with Cognos Inc. under which the business-intelligence software vendor will build Composite's enterprise information-integration tools into its ReportNet query-and-reporting software. Cognos also bought a $4.5 million equity stake in Composite.

In September, MetaMatrix established a sales and marketing relationship with business-intelligence software vendor Business Objects SA. Last year, reporting software vendor Actuate Corp. acquired enterprise information-integration software developer Nimble Technology Inc.

In this week's announcement, Composite 3.0 offers parallel-processing capabilities for running the software on multiple-CPU servers, and the ability to evaluate the sources of the data being integrated to determine the best means of querying that data. Those improvements boost the software's scalability and response time, according to Green.

The new release provides advanced read-write features for distributed insert, update, and delete tasks, allowing applications to be built on Composite instead of an underlying database. Version 3.0 now supports data sources that use XML, LDAP, and Java procedures, and publish aggregated data in relational form as XML or Web services.

Composite Information Server 3.0 is available now with pricing starting around $100,000.

Earlier this month, Avaki debuted Avaki 6.0, a new release of its own enterprise information-integration software with performance enhancements, including new scheduling options and improved query optimization, and the new Avaki Studio for creating integrated data views. Pricing starts at $50,000, with average deployments costing $175,000 to $250,000, according to the company.

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