Blogger Defends Informatica as Gold Standard for Data Integration

Loraine Lawson

Over the past year, IBM, SAP, Oracle and, to some extent, Microsoft made quite a few headlines with their data-integration and BI acquisitions and the resulting new offerings.


In the midst of this, some questioned whether old-school ETL data-integration player, Informatica, could stand up to the competition.


Meanwhile, Informatica kept plugging away, making a few acquisitions, offering a Data Migration Suite that bundled existing products and focusing on its real competition: do-it-yourself integration projects.


That may seem like a surprisingly non-aggressive posture for a company facing big-name competition, but it worked, according to this detailed piece by Vincent McBurney, a manager at Deloitte Consulting in Australia and a blogger for IT Toolbox. Informatica managed to pull off a 20 percent profit and revenue increase last year. And Informatica is already looking good for 2008. License revenue for the first six months was up 17 percent, according to McBurney.


All of which is great for stockholders, but what does all this money-making mean for IT leaders and business executives trying to find the right data-integration solution?


It means, according to McBurney, that Informatica is still a powerhouse and an innovator. And given that it often makes the top quadrant in analyst rankings, you shouldn't write off this veteran just yet, he writes.


The article -- which, by the way, is no quick read at seven printed pages -- also looks at what Informatica's financial success says about the data-integration market in general. Informatica is the most public of the remaining pure-play integration vendors, and Informatica's oldest competitor, IBM, doesn't break out data integration as a separate market in its profit reports. This makes Informatica the best parameter of the market, according to McBurney. If he's right, data-integration vendors are breezing through the economic slowdown:

"Companies that don't yet use data integration tools have data volumes rising, they have compliance requirements rising, they have data quality problems growing deeper and wider, they have legacy applications growing older and less competitive. ... Sooner or later every company has to pay a visit to the data integration vendors."

The article also offers a run-down of the big-vendor data-integration offerings and a look at how the emerging SaaS integration market factors into the overall picture of the data-integration space. It's a useful read, though be warned the message is decidedly pro-Informatica. It's up to you to decide whether McBurney's judgment is justified.

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Aug 26, 2008 1:56 PM WebDesignMiami WebDesignMiami  says:
Kudos to the Cloud Crowd for Re-Inventing the Wheel!One thing 30 years in the IT industry has taught me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Another is that the only memory we seem to access is short-term. Yet another is that techno-marketeers rely on that, so they can put labels like "revolutionary" and "innovative" on platforms, products and services that are mere re-inventions of the wheel ... and often poor copies at that.A good example is all the buzz about "Cloud Computing" in general and "SaaS" (software as a service) in particular:http://tinyurl.com/6let8xBoth terms are bogus. The only true cloud computing takes place in aircraft. What they're actually referring to by "the cloud" is a large-scale and often remotely located and managed computing platform. We have had those since the dawn of electronic IT. IBM calls them "mainframes":http://tinyurl.com/5kdhcbThe only innovation offered by today's cloud crowd is actually more of a speculation, i.e. that server farms can deliver the same solid performance as Big Iron. And even that's not original. Anyone remember Datapoint's ARCnet, or DEC's VAXclusters? Whatever happened to those guys, anyway...?And as for SaaS, selling the sizzle while keeping the steak is a marketing ploy most rightfully accredited to society's oldest profession. Its first application in IT was (and for many still is) known as the "service bureau". And I don't mean the contemporary service bureau (mis)conception labelled "Service 2.0" by a Wikipedia contributor whose historical perspective is apparently constrained to four years:http://tinyurl.com/5fpb8eInstead, I mean the computer service bureau industry that spawned ADAPSO (the Association of Data Processing Service Organizations) in 1960, and whose chronology comprises a notable portion of the IEEE's "Annals of the History of Computing":http://tinyurl.com/5lvjdlSo ... for any of you slide rule-toting, pocket-protected keypunch-card cowboys who may be just coming out of a 40-year coma, let me give you a quick IT update:1. "Mainframe" is now "Cloud" (with concomitant ethereal substance). 2. "Terminal" is now "Web Browser" (with much cooler games, and infinitely more distractions). 3. "Service Bureau" is now "SaaS" (but app upgrades are just as painful, and custom mods equally elusive). 4. Most IT buzzwords boil down to techno-hyped BS (just as they always have).Bruce Arnold, Web Design Miami Floridahttp://www.PervasivePersuasion.com Reply
Aug 26, 2008 4:48 PM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:
Bruce, LOL - even the debates and arguments are the same. I think the pendulum is swinging so much faster these days, I think it's going to fly off and smash something! To extend your 4 bullets;1. A bunch a VM's running the O/S and fat clients (rich), serving up services and new UI's and mash-ups is also a "mainframe". Do VM's make fat clients OK again?2. The Web browser is actually a VERY dumb terminal. We make it smarter by loading THICK priority client side software. Why don't we just load the thick clients outside the browser (on-demand) where it becomes even smarter. Don't believe me? Silverlight? Flash? Flex? ActiveX? Java Apps?3. Service Bureau - yep and see 2 above.. on-demand-anything - the browser is a shell only4. Are you being cynical? LOL.http://franciscarden.blogspot.com Reply
Aug 26, 2008 7:56 PM Rob Eamon Rob Eamon  says:
I'm not sure how the comments from Arnold are on topic. He posted exactly the same text to a Dvorak article, a Chappell blog post and a few other places. Generally he's commenting on cloud computing articles but the comment here seems misplaced. Methinks he's trying to drive traffic somewhere? Good comments, but weird that they are exactly the same in so many places. Reply
Aug 27, 2008 8:49 AM Vincent McBurney Vincent McBurney  says:
The main benefit customers are getting out of the long battle between Informatica and IBM-Ascential is that both suites are expanding and adding better support for the events that happen before and after ETL build. If you look at recent large database project failures you will usually find metadata and data quality were missing from the strategy.There is no slow down in the market and in fact some of the biggest spenders on data integration software includes the banks hit by subprime. Reply

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