Sifting Through the Myriad Integration Players


As I mentioned last week, Gartner recently released its 2008 Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools, which a vendor has -- for now -- made available for free online.


It's a good report -- but there are actually quite a few companies NOT in the Magic Quadrant. Many of them are mentioned at the end of the "Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria," but I know of at least one integration company -- SnapLogic -- that's not mentioned at all. In SnapLogic's case, this is very probably because it's a relatively new company, with a rather unique approach to data integration. For more about that, check out my April interview with SnapLogic CEO Chris Marino.


There are a slew of other companies that receive a mere mention in the report. Midway down, under the "Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria," you'll find a list of about 35 companies that didn't make the cut when it came to the Magic Quadrant. Unfortunately, because they didn't rank in the Magic Quadrant, Gartner only offers you a synopsis of what they do rather than an assessment of their capabilities and how they compare with competitors.


That's understandable, but unfortunate, because what I've found in this very crowded market is that it can be darn hard to cut through the marketing lingo and really get a grasp of what the company does and who its competitors are. At least the report does offer you a one- or two-sentence synopsis, so you can be clear about who offers what in this space.


Just because a company doesn't make the Magic Quadrant does not mean you should dismiss what it's offering. For instance, I recently interviewed Ilan Sehayek, CTO of Jitterbit, about its data integration tool. Sehayek wasn't very happy about a recent analyst assessment that said Jitterbit and other open source tools weren't ready for enterprises.


I'm not qualified to comment about whether companies like Jitterbit are qualified for global enterprise clients, but I did note that NASA, Continental Airlines, Cap Gemini and Iowa's state government are all Jitterbit clients.


It's also interesting to note that, over and over, the vendors I speak with say their main competition isn't Informatica or IBM or some other big vendor, but hand-coding. Ultimately, that may be the hardest step for your company: leaving behind the culture of hand-coding to move to a packaged data integration solution.


Still, once you make that decision, sifting through all the vendors can be a daunting task. I'd love to hear from readers who've navigated the myriad of integration companies to find a solution that works for your company.