Cast Iron unveiled the iA4000 series this week, a new appliance that steps up the company's offering by adding a data cleansing tool and more integration support for software-as-a-service products. Plus, they're also offering the new appliance as a hosted service, which I would say is a pretty big step for a company whose business model relies on appliances.
Network World reports that the new offering is aimed at mid-market companies with limited IT resources. The addition of the data quality and cleansing tools might make you think Cast Iron wants to compete more aggressively with traditional data integration vendors, but that's not so. According to Cast Iron VP of Product Marketing Chandar Pattabhiram, the company sees its product as competing primarily with in-house developers.
Organizations have resisted trading hand-coding for pre-built solutions, which would make it seem like Cast Iron is taking on an uphill battle. But it's important to note that traditionally, this resistance to buy rather than build has related to in-house integration with legacy systems. What's smart about Cast Iron's new offering is that it focuses on the new area of SaaS-to-in-house application integration. Since companies don't have an established practice of doing this in-house, they may be more open to buying rather than building an integration solution -- especially since the iA4000 appliance sells for $4,500.
The Software Development Times also ran a good piece on the new offering, but it focused more on the new data cleansing capabilities. Pattabhiram told the SD Times that the reason Cast Iron added a data cleansing tool is because fixing mistakes and discrepancies is actually the first step in any data integration. Today, that seems kind of like a "Well, duh" statement, but let's face it -- in the real world, data cleansing pre-integration has been a much neglected practice. So, it's a nice touch.
The new appliance also includes a tool for visualizing business processes. This isn't getting quite as much attention from the press, but it was mentioned in ebizQ's brief on the product. The piece basically sums up the press release. The good thing about that is it goes into more specifics about what's new with the appliance, particularly when it comes to the template integration library and the Process Flow Designer.