Free Tool Helps You Define Data Integration Needs

Loraine Lawson

I can't help it -- I'm a sucker for free online tools. So, of course, when I saw this Intelligent Enterprise item about a free Data Integration Strategy Recommendation Tool, I had to share.

The tool is the brainchild of Composite Software, which offers data integration tools and services. I was a bit concerned that the tool would only recommend specific Composite products, but the recommendations are more generic.

Basically, it asks you about 13 criteria for your data integration projects -- including time to solution, cost sensitivity, transformations, data cleansing needs and data volume -- and asks you to choose between two extremes in each situation. You can also weight each criteria as not applicable, low, normal, high or critical. The tool will then pick one of three options for you:

  1. A virtual federation (Enterprise Information Integration) project, which means virtual data federation with EII middleware
  2. A physical consolidation project, which means you should opt for physical data consolidation with an ETL (extract, transform, load) middleware
  3. A hybrid or inconclusive recommendation, which means you either need a more detailed analysis than the tool can offer or you should opt for a combination of virtual federation and physical consolidation

You'll want to read the instructions before clicking over to the tool.


The tool certainly won't replace a detailed analysis or build a business case, but it's a good starting place. Its real strength may be that it forces you to think through your needs and your organizational priorities.


Before you commit, however, you might want to check out this recent analysis of an emerging start-up with an intriguing data integration solution. According to Bloor Research associate analyst Andy Hayler, a new company called expressor software promises to address two problems plaguing existing offerings.


First, it offers a "higher level semantic abstraction model to derive business rules and store these in a metadata repository," Hayler writes. In English, this means it does NOT marry the business rules to the code - which tends to be a problem in large-scale data integration projects.


It also purports to solve the problem of limited batch windows, which Hayler explains creates bottleneck problems with large integration projects. He does note, however, that other companies, such as Ab Initio, do already address this problem.


According to Hayler's assessment, expressor could be a huge threat if its claims are substantiated:

The company will need to back up its bold claims on performance with independent (preferably customer) case studies, but even if its performance claims are partly true, then the big boys may have something to worry about soon.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
May 15, 2008 7:48 PM kuf kuf  says:
Im very interested in this solution Reply

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