Rumor Mill Mutters about Oracle Buyout of Informatica - Again

Loraine Lawson

One of my absolute favorite perennial tech stories popped up against last week: Informatica might be bought out. And once again, the would-be suitor is Oracle, a company with a reputation for buyouts.


What I love about this story is that it's as random and often as unsubstantiated as Bigfoot sightings, and about as old. I've found predictions of an Oracle buyout dating back to 2007, although the best-reasoned prediction article appeared on ZDNet in 2008. The speculation reappeared last year and here we are again discussing it. And yet, just like Bigfoot, this story refuses to just disappear, despite Informatica's insistence it has NO interest in selling.


At least this time, there's a known cause: Two surveys that asked which company Oracle should acquire next. The top pick in both cases was Informatica, which I'm sure the data integration vendor is none-to-thrilled to learn. To be clear, these surveys were self-selecting polls, so it's not like they're based on a tip from a company or even an industry insider or anything.


The article points out that neither company was available to comment on the polls, and that industry watchers "downplayed the results." However, the complete absence of any reality in the situation shouldn't stop anyone from at least discussing what the deal might mean, right?


Forrester analyst Rob Karel points out in the article there's not actually a lot of overlap in their offerings. Plus, he adds, it's not like Oracle needs Informatica. Oracle already has its own data-integration solution.


In fact, last week, Oracle introduced a new data-integration portfolio that includes the ability to handle "big-data loads in heterogeneous environments with real-time performance -- a combination that's increasingly in demand," according to InformationWeek. Both capabilities were acquired through acquisitions.


The real-time updating comes with Oracle GoldenGate 11G includes the change data capture, aka CDC, technology Oracle acquired last year when it bought GoldenGate.


But what's interesting is what happens when Oracle combines that with the Oracle Data Integrator 11g, which includes ETL technology from Oracle's 2006 acquisition of Sunopsis. The article explains:

CDC technologies aren't typically used for heavy-duty data transformation work such as aggregation. But that's where Oracle Data Integration 11g (ODI) comes in. ODI is distinguished from conventional extract, transform and load tools in that it offers the alternative extract, load and transform (EL-T) approach. By combining CDC and EL-T, companies can keep pace with high-volume operational workloads while also handling required transformations in near real time. Oracle executives said it's not uncommon for companies seeking these technologies to process more than 50 gigabytes per hour.

The article outlines details about how the two products work together and new integrations with other offerings.


Given that Oracle seems to be doing OK on the data-integration front, and Informatica has repeatedly denied any desire to be acquired, it seems unlikely that such a deal would come to pass-no matter what the polls say.


Then again, since the analysts are betting against it, situational irony might make this the year Informatica decides to sell.

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