Businesses hungry for better data and information integration are watching the stormy skies to see which vendors prevail. In October, Informatica rolled out its R&D Project Zeus as PowerCenter 8, an extensive upgrade of its data integration software platform. Informatica hopes that Zeus has enough thunderbolts to knock back arch-rival IBM, owner of the former Ascential (now IBM Websphere) DataStage tools. And both are eyeing Microsoft, which in November launched SQL Server Integration Services as a fuller solution than its first attempt, Data Transformation Services.
PowerCenter 8, offered in standard and advanced editions, will formally add data federation, thanks to a technology agreement with Composite Software, a provider of enterprise information integration (EII) tools. This addition makes Informatica relevant for a wider variety of enterprise integration problems, including operational BI and performance management, that may not require a persistent data store (such as a data warehouse).
The company will also field Unstructured Data Option, which uses XML to expand access beyond traditional database sources, some of which are found in highly vertical industry applications. This will be important as companies work to break down silos and establish single views of customers or other objects of interest.
Both Informatica and IBM are battling to become the god of information integration services, which will draw rapt customer attention as service-oriented architectures take hold. Informatica, as a pure-play provider, could prove more nimble. Look for more thunder and lightning to come.
— David Stodder