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August 18, 2005

IBM lands first Hawk deliverable

IBM Corp's newly formed Information Integration Solutions division unveiled a new version of its transactional data integration software, re-branded as WebSphere DataStage TX 8.0. It represents the first major deliverable of its next generation product release codenamed "Hawk."

By CBR Staff Writer

Hawk redesigns most of Ascential Software’s core products, blending them into a new bundle that is integrated to a common metadata back end and a common front end. Hawk was in development by Ascential Software prior to its acquisition by IBM in April this year.

The other on-going deliverables of Hawk will include new versions of the core DataStage data migration and transformation product; the ProfileStage data profiling product; the QualityStage data cleansing product; the AuditStage product, which creates data transformation audit trails; and the MetaStage product, the former standalone repository.

TX 8.0 comes with several productivity enhancements aimed at increasing developer productivity, driving faster execution and deepening integration within enterprise IT systems.

Most of the significant new features are aimed at data transformation design and development, notably a new graphical debugger interface visually steps users through complex transformation and mapping rules and highlights and sets breakpoints directly from TX’s Map Designer interface.

Other products typically force users to drop down to the underlying code and sift through the underlying structures. The visual debugger lets developers step into a rule and examine (step in/out) the impact of rules on data as it changes and examine the result.

Also included is a new dynamic logging tool that lets developers turn on/off logging at event time, rather than having to continuously run a processor-hungry Control Launcher (EventServer). Developers can also granularly define appropriate logging severity classes – like trace, debug, warning, error and fatal – for individual data transformation and migration components.

The release also debuts a new Map Performance Profiler that breaks down iterations and time on all types of mapping constructs – component and mapping rules, functions, type objects and functional maps.

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Commenting on the developer enhancements, Jonathan Arneault, marketing director for the DataStage TX family at IBM, said the primary goal of the TX 8.0 release is to help developers accomplish more by taking the black art elements out of the tool. He said companies could get up to a 30-40% reduction in transformation design time.

IBM in parallel also announced updates to DataStage TX’s Industry Packs – vertical industry specific offerings designed to speed up implementation. There are new packs for HIPPA, SWIFT, EDI and Enterprise Applications.

The HIPPA pack is aimed squarely at processing and payment clearing houses; supporting both acknowledgement and claims attachment and validation. The SWIFT pack includes performance and throughput enhancements – with up to 12-18% faster transforms and validations, according to Arneault.

The EDI pack supports standards like X12 5020 and EDIFACT (D04A and D04B). He added: We’re now supporting every EDI standard that’s ever been issued dating back to 1979. The updated ERP packs come with deeper API reach into Siebel, PeopleSoft, and SAP.

Finally, IBM has also updated its DataStage Commerce Manager offering to support EDI processing on the mainframe. The new release has been re-branded as Trading Manager 7.7 and includes mainframe Z/OS platform support, broader data standards, event management and enhanced security features.

When IBM/Ascential first unveiled details of Hawk deliverables at a analyst meeting When, officials said that the initial release would not include DataStage TX, which is the former Mercator product. It now seems this is being rolled out in two separate stages.

What we’ve done here is make TX run inside the core DataStage engine. The integrated GUI is not included in Hawk, but is scheduled for the next Rhapsody release.

Rhapsody will mark a seminal change in the way to do data integration, Arneault said.

Expected sometime in the second half of 2006, the Rhapsody release will also include collaboration tools to support team-based development.

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