What You Need to Know About New Open Source MDM Offering


This week, Talend released its master data management solution, arguably the first open source MDM solution. I've been sifting through the news announcement and analysts blogs, and the buzz is positive, but cautionary.


Depending upon whom you read, this could either <span>democratize the MDM industry (if you ask Talen</span>d) or it could slowly change the MDM market landscape, introducing MDM to small- and mid-sized organizations that would otherwise not be able to afford it.

So what's the skinny on this new solution and what can it do for you? Here's what I think are the most important facts on Talend's MDM tool:

  • It's multi-domain MDM. Talend bought this solution from a French niche player called Almato, but the word is, it's substantially revamped it, creating a multi-domain MDM solution, as opposed to a more industry-specific tool or a product or customer MDM solution. David Loshin, president of consultancy Knowledge Integrity told Information Management that this approach will "let the internal users devise their own model based on their business uses."
  • Yes, there is a free version ... As is typical for open source vendors, Talend is offering a community edition of the core MDM tool, and, yes, it's free.
  • ... but you'll pay for the supported, enterprise version, although it is cheaper than other solutions. Again, as is typical for open source vendors, you must buy the enterprise edition. I recently asked Jim Walker, the MDM product marketing manager who oversaw this release, about the price. Walker said most deployments will range from $50,000 to $80,000. As Information Difference's Andy Hayler points out, that's still significantly less than proprietary MDM deployments, which can cost from half a million to a million dollars.
  • It's not, technically, the only open source MDM offering. While Talend is touting this as the only (and sometimes, first) open source MDM solution, actually, Sun released an MDM core, Mural, a few years back. Only too bad for open source fans, because Mural seems likely to go the way of the dinosaur now that Oracle has acquired Sun. And, frankly, it never did that well in the first place, as Gartner's Andrew White pointed out in a recent blog post.
  • Master data is stored in XML format. And it's kept in a repository based on the open source eXist-db XML database system, Information Week reports. Hayler expressed some doubts about this approach, writing, "Talend will need to demonstrate that the unusual XML database platform that is used (which has some advantages in data modelling and search) also scales properly when significant volumes of data are to be managed, and will need to handle objections from database purists who prefer to standardize on a major relational platform."
  • The MDM solution includes Talend's Active Data Model and Talend Studio. Lots of the articles contain information about this, but you can find the most details about what's included in Talend's press release.


If you're looking for further analysis, I recommend you at least read the blog posts written by White and Hayler. White offers the more measured assessment of the news. Hayler is more upbeat and goes into more detail about how the enterprise edition functions.


You can also check out my interview this week with Walker and Yves de Montcheuil, vice president of marketing. They discuss why the company decided to invest in MDM and what they believe the open source approach can do for MDM.