Two Trends to Watch in the Data Integration Space

Loraine Lawson
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Top 10 Best Practices for Data Integration

Use these guidelines to help you achieve more modern, high-value and diverse uses of DI tools and techniques.

Fashion and trends may be big drivers in consumer tech, and even to some extent in all areas of technology, but you really can't claim either are big factors in the data integration space.


Let's face it: Data integration is a pretty conservative space in many ways. First, the main competition vendors face isn't each other, but hand coding-you can't get more old school than that. Second, the vendor list remains fairly constant. As a recent Enterprise Systems article points out, Informatica has been the leader in Gartner's Data Integration Magic Quadrant for at least six years, and its nearest contender, IBM, is hardly a Johnny-come-lately upstart. In fact, most of the names in the Magic Quadrant-Microsoft, Syncsort and Pervasive-have been around a long time.


But there are signs that the times, they are a changing, in at least two ways that could significantly change this space, if the prognostications prove true.


Technology writer Stephen Swoyer ferreted out the first coming change from Gartner's last Magic Quadrant for Data Integration tools. More organizations are opting for "solutions with solid basic capabilities," at the right price, according to Gartner. This trend toward a "good enough" solution for data integration is creating an opening for less established, smaller players-what Swoyer calls the "Missing Z Axis" of the Magic Quadrant.


Much of the article rehashes what you've probably already read about the most recent DI Tool Magic Quadrant, so skim on down to the subtitle, "The Missing Z Axis," to read why these vendors say "good enough" is becoming "just right" for cost-conscious organizations. Primarily, they offer solutions that are less complex than their "Magic Quadrant" competitors. These "Z Axis" vendors say their solutions can be used by developers who aren't necessarily ETL experts and that translates into faster delivery on integration projects.


Given that time and time again, data integration vendors say their main competition is hand coding, the growth of "Z Axis" vendors may not be a disruptive trend for market leaders like Informatica and IBM. In fact, there are a number of smaller data integration players, and thus far, the pie seems big enough to share.


That brings me to the second trend that could impact the data integration space: The data warehousing market is evolving in such a way that data integration vendors may be able to compete for projects traditionally opened to only database-management system (DBMS) vendors, according to a recent Gartner prediction mentioned in a recent eWeek article.


That's because the amount of data is becoming so large, there's more focus on understanding it, and the data warehousing market will need to evolve toward helping provide context and insight into the data. Metadata management will be a key component of that, according to Gartner. Data integration vendors already are offering or starting to offer these functions, which could translate into a "title fight" between DBMS and integration vendors for control of that information management layer, Gartner analyst Mark Beyer told eWeek.


Alas, the article doesn't say when we can anticipate this heavy weight match, but hey, I'm calling dibs on ring-side seats now.

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