7 Steps to Smarter Integration
Sometimes, change can be worthwhile. The key is knowing what's worth pursuing and what's not.
Hubspan, an integration company, jumped the gun with a set of predictions for next year, including, I noted, a prediction that we'd see business integration converge with business intelligence.
I'm scheduled for an interview to learn a bit more about that one, which, as I understand it, is more about B2B integration with BI. Still, in general, I think anything that makes data integration a more-for lack of a better word-"integrated" part of BI would be a good thing all around. After all, as I shared last week, data integration is one of the key issues you have to address if you want to make better sense of data and put your BI tools to good use.
Pentaho, a U.S. open source BI and data integration vendor headquartered in Orlando, Fl., thinks so, too, and says this basic idea guided its recently released Enterprise Data Services Suite. The suite includes an ETL tool with a graphical, drag-and-drop interface and 150 pre-built mapping objects. There's also pre-built integration support for packaged apps, including Salesforce and SAP.
Over this year, we focused more than ever in our history on the left-hand side of the white board-data integration and preparation. ... What you find when talking to customers is that if you get the data integration piece right, then the BI goes well.
Ventana Research VP and Analyst David Menninger spoke highly of the suite's unique features, especially the fact it combines reporting features with data integration and cloud products, according to a recent Information Management article:
Ventana Research vice president and analyst David Menninger pointed to the use of Hadoop processing and data storage for ETL and reporting functions as especially unique to the suite. Menninger says the suite includes numerous analytics features like drilling to details and dashboard creation, as well as better integration of metadata.
In addition to what I've already mentioned, customers get Metadata Services through the entire suite and Analytic Data Services, which are "wizard-based aggregation tools for large analytical queries," the article notes. You can also get a more detailed look at what's new by reading "What's New in Pentaho Data Integration Enterprise Edition 4.1," which is available as a free, downloadable .pdf from the vendor's site.
Ovum recently audited Pentaho's BI Suite Enterprise Edition, which Principal Analyst Madan Sheina described as a "competent offering that provides value on several counts including low-cost end-to-end BI functionality (including some advanced analytics), flexible deployment options (out-of-the-box on-premise, cloud-based on-demand, or embedded), and good support for business users."
But perhaps more telling is Sheina's statement that "... Pentaho has been able to craft together a broad and highly functional BI and data-integration suite that is starting to rival commercial BI offerings."
Despite all the positive press, it should be noted that this type of support is not unique to Pentaho. Jaspersoft, which is often seen as Pentaho's main competitor,also offers a data integration suite, supports cloud services and is listed as a Cloudera partner. Cloudera offers its own distribution of Hadoop.