Making the Case for Lean Integration

Michael Vizard

One of the biggest challenges that any IT organization is going to face is that the weight of the middleware architecture being used to manage the integration of the data eventually kills the performance of all the applications.

That's the basic conclusion of a new book, "Lean Integration: An Integration Factory Approach to Business Agility," authored by John Schmidt, Informatica vice president of global integration services. A lean approach to integration is especially important, says Schmidt, when it comes to integrating data that is in motion a lot. In order to not compromise application performance, Schmidt cautions IT organizations that they need to first understand the real attributes of the data being integrated, and then make sure they take a federated approach to managing integration projects across the entire enterprise so as to not create "integration hairballs."

That performance theme echoes throughout Informatica's overall approach to integration, most notably in the form of Informatica 9, which among other things allows IT organizations to aggregate more data processing at various endpoints so that the integration process itself can be leaner.

According to Schmidt, the issue that IT organizations need to be aware of is that if the integration process itself is not federated, the integration software deployed all across the enteprise in support of any number of projects becomes something of a millstone tied around the IT organization's neck. Schmidt is arguing that IT organizations need to take a leaner approach to middleware that will not only be easier to manage, but less likely to compromise performance.


As an indepedent provider of middleware software for the enteprise, the biggest challenge Informatica has against rivals such as IBM and Oracle is that, when pressed, those companies will bundle their middeware offerings with a larger portfolio of products. Informatica is trying to remind customers that manageability and performance matters enough to pay a premium for Informatica's software. Conceptually, most customers would probably agree with Informatica. But in tough economic times, the tendency to compromise on manageability and performance in the name of financial expediency is great.

The first chapter of Schmidt's new book, which is ultimately intended to remind customers why it's important to resist the blandishments of less expensive offerings from Informatica rivals, can be found in the Knowledge Network.

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