Informatica Expands PowerCenter's Capabilities

Data-integration software vendor also provides a glimpse of its product road map.
Informatica Corp. on Tuesday unveiled a version of its PowerCenter data-integration software that includes the vendor's previously separate metadata-management and data-visualization products. The company also revealed plans for future versions of PowerCenter due later this year and in late 2006.

PowerCenter Advanced Edition continues the program's evolution from a department-level data-integration application to an enterprise-class system, Informatica says. The new package consists of the core PowerCenter 7.1 data-integration software, the SuperGlue 2.1 metadata-management software, and the PowerAnalyzer 5.0 data-visualization application. PowerAnalyzer and SuperGlue, previously available as separate options, will no longer be sold as separate products, according to Informatica.

PowerCenter Advanced Edition also offers team-based development capabilities and can be deployed on a grid-computing network. The product will be available March 1, with pricing starting at $180,000 for a server with four CPUs. Informatica will continue to offer a standard edition of PowerCenter without SuperGlue and PowerAnalyzer priced starting at $140,000.

"The industry seems to be moving in that direction with integration tools," says Bill Carson, VP of application solutions at online retailer Inc., referring to Informatica's decision to bundle more data-management capabilities into a single product. His company uses PowerCenter to move data into a data warehouse, but it doesn't use SuperGlue or PowerAnalyzer. While he has software from other vendors that provide some of those products' capabilities, "there may be some value in having it all-in-one solution. [But] obviously you need to get value out of all those components," Carson says, adding that he plans to investigate the new PowerCenter release.

Informatica also provided a road map for the next two releases of PowerCenter, known as "Zeus" and "Hercules." These versions are slated to debut in the third quarter and in the second half of 2006, respectively.

Zeus will provide improved scalability and more fault-tolerant and failover capabilities to handle larger volumes of data. New RSA encryption features will improve the software's security. And the system will support unstructured data and documents and data-exchange standards such as HL7, UCCnet, and Swift (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication).

Hercules will offer what Informatica calls "full-demand" data integration, using a services-oriented architecture to extend the system's integration capabilities beyond a data warehouse to other data sources. The software will also make it easier for developers to build and extend data-warehouse systems by prototyping links to data sources users need to access.