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Colin White

I like the various blogs associated with my many hobbies and even those to do with work. I find them very useful and I was excited when the Business Intelligence Network invited me to write my very own blog. At last I now have somewhere to park all the various tidbits that I know are useful, but I am not sure what to do with. I am interested in a wide range of information technologies and so you might find my thoughts will bounce around a bit. I hope these thoughts will provoke some interesting discussions.

About the author >

Colin White is the founder of BI Research and president of DataBase Associates Inc. As an analyst, educator and writer, he is well known for his in-depth knowledge of data management, information integration, and business intelligence technologies and how they can be used for building the smart and agile business. With many years of IT experience, he has consulted for dozens of companies throughout the world and is a frequent speaker at leading IT events. Colin has written numerous articles and papers on deploying new and evolving information technologies for business benefit and is a regular contributor to several leading print- and web-based industry journals. For ten years he was the conference chair of the Shared Insights Portals, Content Management, and Collaboration conference. He was also the conference director of the DB/EXPO trade show and conference.

Editor's Note: More articles and resourcesare available in Colin's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

January 2006 Archives

Other members of the Business Intelligence Network have already commented on Informatica's proposed acquisition of Similarity Systems and so I won't replicate their views here. This acquisition does, however, demonstrate the move by the original ETL vendors toward a complete enterprise-wide data integration platform that supports ETL, EII, integration with EAI technology, metadata management, and data profiling and data quality tools. The Similarity acquisition fills out the data profiling and data quality component of this platform for Informatica.

The direction by the main data integration vendors toward a complete enterprise data integration platform will make it difficult for third-party vendors that focus on one aspect of the technology stack to survive, and so we can expect more product consolidation in this segment of the marketplace.

One interesting aspect of the Similarity Systems acquisition for me lies in its AXIO Suite. This product was acquired from Evoke Software, whose technology in turn evolved from various data profiling and data modeling product development and research efforts. This evolution can be traced back many years to DB Software, which was a CASE company founded in 1990 by Dr. Dina Bitton.

As a matter of interest Dina Bitton was, until recently, CTO of Callixa, a company that provides a high-performance EII-like capability known as the Virtual Information Grid. A tragedy befell the company four years ago. On Sept. 11, 2001, Callixa was preparing a product launch in the World Trade Center in New York. At least three of its senior staff were killed in the terrorist attacks, and as a result the company closed its doors for a while and then sought a buyer. Callixa was acquired by SAP last December, and Dina is now an SAP Vice President. After 15 years, its nice to see her excellent research and development work being used by mainstream companies like Informatica and SAP.

Posted January 31, 2006 5:08 PM
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Enterprise Information Integration (EII) was a hot topic last year. If, however, you ask IT folks to name EII vendors and products, the list will most probably be quite short. Most people can name the Composite Software Information Server and the IBM WebSphere Information Integrator, but after that they begin to struggle.

There are a lot of companies involved in EII, but many of these are small and several of them very acquired last year. There are a few left that are ripe for the picking (and so watch this space).

Here are some EII developments you may have missed.

Business Objects acquisition of Medience, a small French EII software start-up. Business Objects is positioning this product as a federated data integration tool alongside its Data Integrator ETL tool.

Sybase acquisition of Avaki, a privately held provider of EII software. Sybase intends to incorporate the Avaki technology into its information management software suite. It’s also worth noting that Sybase has also purchased ISDD Ltd., a privately held provider of unstructured data management software. ISDD technology queries unstructured content, such as e-mails, Microsoft PowerPoint and PDF documents, as well as structured data from databases and Web sites.

BEA acquisition of Plumtree Software and creation of new AquaLogic product family. Plumtree is a leading independent supplier of portal software. The Plumtree software is now known as BEA Aqualogic User Interaction. BEA’s EII product (formerly known as Liquid Data) is now a component of this new product family and is called the AquaLogic Data Services Platform.

Informatica announcement of the PowerCenter Data Federation option. This option extends PowerCenter’s ETL and RT-ETL capabilities with EII data federation capabilities. Composite Software’s EII technology was used to build this product feature.

Cognos announcement of Cognos 8 Business Intelligence Data Integration. Buried in this announcement was a statement that Cognos’s data integration software can, in conjunction with partner software, use EII to provide virtual data integration. One of Cognos’s partners here is Composite Software.

You can see from the above that that EII is being used in a variety of different software environments. As I was writing this, Ipedo (an independent EII vendor) sent me the results of an EII study they did with ebizQ (a business integration Web site) and Decideo (a European on-line BI community). The results showed that companies are embracing EII to access disparate information more easily (49%), to complement other data integration approaches (37%) and to facilitate migration to a service-oriented architecture (30%).

Remember EII is not a panacea, but a component of an enterprise-wide data integration architecture that brings together technologies such as EII, ETL and EAI.

Posted January 23, 2006 4:37 PM
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