7 Steps to Smarter Integration
Sometimes, change can be worthwhile. The key is knowing what's worth pursuing and what's not.
There's been a trend lately to adding more to data integration products. Whether it's MDM, data governance or what-have-you, it seems even integration can always be more integrated.
Bob Potter, CEO of expressor, thinks it's the wrong direction. What businesses really want, he says, is enterprise-class integration data capabilities-complete with the ability to scale for processing terabytes of data-that are simple to understand and easy to use.
That's the philosophy behind the company's new expressor 3.0, which will be unveiled in beta at the 2010 PASS Summit in Seattle on Monday, and is expected to be generally available before the end of the year.
For instance, the new release includes reusable data mapping, but from project to project, and as you're moving between, say, the integration tool and BI or BPM tools, he said. It also includes simplified data mapping using semantic types, instead of the more traditional ETL approach of point-to-point mapping. They also worked with a usability architect to create a clean user interface, with the familiar Windows-esque look and feel.
The company isn't just offering a new product release. I learned that they're also incorporating components of open source companies into their marketing strategy. It's an interesting hybrid approach that takes some of the most enticing open source concepts: a free community edition, a support community and a focus on an affordable cost structure.
The free community edition includes a metadata repository, the development environment, an embedded data processing engine and reusable business rules. The free expressor Studio community edition, plus access to the new Community Center, should be available on Monday at www.expressorStudio.com.
Obviously, though, it doesn't include one open source innovation: the actual open source. Potter sees the open source data integration/MDM vendor Talend as expressor's chief competitor, but he doesn't believe open source code is what organizations really want.
"The open source vendors have kind of had it their way for a couple of years now, undercutting the enterprise vendors. The innovation that they've come up with is the fact that it's open source," Potter said. "I think that really what customers want is affordability, not source code. Source code can only get you into trouble-like if you modify it, well who maintains it? And what rights do I really have to that source code?
"We're pursuing a commercial path like Informatica and Essential Software, now IBM, but we're using some of the sales and marketing techniques open source vendors have used: download ability, forums, telesales-high volume, but low touch in terms of dealing with customers."
expressor charges when you want to move data faster through the parallel processing engine, charging for each unit of parallelism, which they call a "channel." Typically, the costs for transactions run around $30,000, which is the standard SE bundle with three, two-year channels and a week of mentoring, or $60,000, which is the premium SE bundle and includes six, two-year channels, two weeks of mentoring and one week of on-site training. You can purchase an additional two-year term channel for $10,000.