Another Free Gartner Paper for Choosing a Data Integration Solution

Loraine Lawson
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Top 10 Best Practices for Data Integration

Use these guidelines to help you achieve more modern, high-value and diverse uses of DI tools and techniques.

Which vendor offers the best data integration solution?


Almost everyone - including many data integration vendors - will answer that question with, "Well it depends on what you need to do and how much you want to spend."


Everybody but me. I'd answer that with a "Wow. Look at this! It's a 10-foot pole!"


Most people would grab an analyst report to try to sort this kind of question out, which is why I love to point out free versions of these reports. Forrester has its Waves and Gartner has its Magic Quadrants.


But here's something of interest I learned recently: Gartner has a second research paper available to help you pick a data integration tool. In "conjunction" with Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools, there's the "Critical Capabilities for Data Integration Tools: Common Data Delivery Styles," which came out about two months after the Magic Quadrant.


And here's another little something worth noting: IBM consistently comes out on top in the product rating chart, even though it's outranked (slightly) on ability to execute by Informatica in the Magic Quadrant.


To be honest, I'm not sure what that means or how that happens. The same three analysts - Eric Thoo, Ted Friedman, Mark A. Beyer - wrote both reports.


I'm not completely sure it matters, though. IBM may come out ahead, but Informatica's not far behind on any of the assessments, so in that way, it reflects the Magic Quadrant. Likewise, Oracle and SAP fight back and forth for third and fourth ranking in the Critical Capabilities report rankings - with SAS a bit farther behind than you might suspect based on the Magic Quadrant, but still, behind on ability to execute.


Vincent McBurney - an IBM Information Champion - over at IT Toolbox, in his post, "Gartner Has IBM Number One for Data Integration Capabilities," links to a free copy of the report, which, not surprisingly, was recently made available thanks to IBM. Normally, Gartner sells the report for $995.


The Critical Capabilities paper seems like the practical, but plainer, brother of the Magic Quadrant, which offers a deeper discussion of capabilities by each vendor. What's nice about this report is Gartner doesn't just talk about the tools based on vendor, it also evaluates based on five use cases (BI and data warehousing, MDM, etc.) and four delivery styles of the data integration:

  • Bulk data movement
  • Data federation
  • Message-orientated movement
  • Data replication and synchronization


So, for instance, if you're looking for the best daggone data federation tool to support BI, rather than the best message-orientated movement tool, then this is the paper for you.


And that's really not a bad way to rank the solutions, since that's probably how you'll shop for them anyway. So, it's actually a usable addition to the Magic Quadrant or any other research you may be using to evaluate your data integration options.


McBurney has a nice summary of the report, which at 15 pages is still a hefty commitment. He also adds a few non-vendor-specific observations about his experience with integration and architecture.

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