Enhanced Integration

Informatica consolidates data-management and visualization products into PowerCenter Software
Informatica Corp. last week 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 package consists of the core PowerCenter 7.1 data-integration software, SuperGlue 2.1 metadata-management software, and the PowerAnalyzer 5.0 data-visualization application. PowerAnalyzer and SuperGlue will no longer be sold as separate products.

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. The online retailer uses PowerCenter to move data into a data warehouse, but it doesn't use SuperGlue or PowerAnalyzer; instead, it uses other vendors' software for some of those capabilities. "There may be some value in having an all-in-one solution, but you need to get value out of all those components," Carson says, adding that he plans to look at PowerCenter Advanced Edition.

Informatica also provided a road map for the next two releases of PowerCenter, known as Zeus and Hercules. Zeus, slated to debut in the third quarter, will provide improved scalability and more fault-tolerance 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 new data-exchange standards.

Hercules, to be available in the second half of 2006, 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.