Blogger, Article Defend Veteran Data Integration Tools


I hate to write a blog post pointing to a blog post that, in turn, points you somewhere else. But I'm going to. And here's why:

  1. I missed the original article, and it's a good one. It's about the new breed of ETL tools and how they stack up to the old faithfuls.
  2. Deloitte Manager Vincent McBurney's commentary actually adds quite a lot of value to the original Enterprise Systems article, including this rather unsettling metaphor about IBM's integration solution, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks. So IBM shot the dog and bought a new one. Or at least they kept the parts of the old dog they liked and added new parts."

The original article compared the new breed of data integration vendors' tools with the more established ETL players. The article specifically looked at startups Talend and Expressor Software, but there are other newcomers as well.


The new players do not fare well in either the article or McBurney's assessment. The new guys -- who label themselves as "next-gen platforms" - like to claim that they're more flexible and more scalable than the "legacy" players. And it's largely this marketing ploy that the article and McBurney take to task.


The big takeaway from both pieces is that newer doesn't mean better and old doesn't mean obsolete. In fact, as McBurney pointed out, established vendors have managed learn from their mistakes, work out the kinks, and improve their products. Wrote McBurney:

"So old vendors with old products do not remain successful by standing still. They keep those legacy pieces that work - like the outstanding DataStage GUI and the Transformer - and dump the pieces that don't work. This gives them a better product than new vendors who haven't learn from their mistakes yet and haven't put years of development to build components that are massively scalable."

McBurney didn't pull any punches with the new guys. It's pretty obvious he thinks the established vendors have the better product.


The article is a bit kinder, but both pieces are accusing new vendors of playing marketing games rather than offering substantial innovations. Still, they make a compelling case for why you should be skeptical about "next-gen" players and their claims about established solutions. So check them out before you buy.


Then be sure to read the comments -- because I suspect the new data integration vendors will have a response to McBurney's post, Enterprise Systems, and probably this humble pointer post as well.