Last week, I wrote about Informatica's new Cloud Express offering. There were a few things I thought were unclear in the coverage, and I promised to check with Informatica and get back to you.
First, I wasn't clear if Cloud Express could only be used with Salesforce or whether it was available for other solutions. Second, I questioned the company's claim that it was unique in its "pay-as-you-go" approach (Fiorano Cloud Platform and IBM InfoSphere DataStage/QualityStage both offer pay-as-you-go options via Amazon's EC2).
This week, I spoke with Juan Carlos Soto, new senior vice president and general manager of B2B and Cloud Business Units at Informatica. I also received an e-mail on the matter from Darren Cunningham, vice president of Informatica Cloud Marketing.
The long and short of it is: Cloud Express is only for Salesforce at this time. Although Informatica does have other cloud offerings that offer integration with other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, at this time, Cloud Express is not one of of them-although Soto did leave that door open, saying that it might change if customers were interested enough in using Cloud Express to connect with other solutions.
As for the pricing issue, that's an interesting problem. Certainly, Fiorano and others claim to offer "pay-as-you-go," by which they're referring to the fact that these solutions run on Amazon EC2, which is set up to charge for whatever server capacity you're using. And since it's a marketing term, "pay-as-you-go" can pretty much be defined however the company wants.
Informatica's take on pay-as-you-go is unique, though, in that you're billed on the number of records you move monthly. Normally, integration vendors charge you for a set number of connections or development time. But with this, it's about the volume-if you don't use it, you're not charged. If you want to move up to 300,000 records per month, then you'll pay the starting price of $99 per month. If you need to move more, there are eight price options, with the most expensive being a $2,000 fee that lets you move 50 million records per month. Here's a table showing how many records you can move at what price.
The beauty is, it can change every month-you're not locked into a pricing structure. In fact, since Informatica incorporated cloud-based billing into its cloud offerings, if you exceed the amount, you're automatically moved to the next pricing tier and billed accordingly. In other words: move more volume, pay more money; move less, pay less-aka, "pay-as-you-go."
If you happen to outgrow Cloud Express, Cunningham says it's easy to upgrade to the Basic, Standard or Enterprise edition of Informatica's Cloud Express, which are all based on 1- to 3-year subscription terms.
Soto pointed out that this brings integration's pricing more in line with the pay-as-you-go approach used by other SaaS solutions.