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March 28, 2005

Informatica plugs EII gap with composite

Enterprise application integration (EII) software maker Composite Software inked its second major OEM deal in four months, this time signing up data integration specialist Informatica.

By CBR Staff Writer

Under the terms of the deal, Informatica will embed the Composite Information Server into its core PowerCenter data integration platform, allowing users to supplement historical data warehouses with more current transactional data sourced on-the-fly.

EII, also called data federation, is a unique approach to data integration that uses an intervening metadata layer to query multiple data at source. Rather than physically moving data into a central repository for query access, EII software references data from its original (usually transactional) systems.

The technology is being positioned by vendors as complementary to data warehouses; supplementing them with lighter queries that run directly against operational source systems.

Both Informatica and Composite will also engage in joint-development and share code and engineering plans to tighten up integration between their respective platforms.

The first phase of integration is expected to be delivered as part of Infromatica’s Zeus release, which is expected in the third quarter of this year. Zeus focuses on expanding the PowerCenter platform to allow users to wrap-in external data sources more easily.

In December last year Cognos announced it had struck an exclusive business intelligence OEM deal to embed Composite’s EII server into its ReportNet enterprise reporting platform.

The move is really an attempt by Informatica to plug a gap in its broadening data integration portfolio which is now expanding beyond traditional extract, transform, and load (ETL) for building data warehouses to operational and transactional applications areas like data synchronization, consolidation and replication.

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Its no secret that Informatica has been looking to bolt an EII capability onto its data integration platform for some time. At last year’s analyst conference, the Redwood City, California-based company announced it was looking closely at several EII start-ups, naming Composite as one possibility.

Whether the Composite OEM is a precursor to a formal remains debatable. Cognos solidified its own OEM partnership by taking a $4.5m minority stake in Composite as well.

Other independent EII vendors that could end up acquisition targets include MetaMatrix, Avaki and Ipedo.

Informatica is also responding to the takeover of its nearest rival Ascential Software by IBM earlier this month. IBM has its own data federation product called WebSphere Information Integrator which it says is starting to gain momentum in the market.

While product integration plans between the Ascential and IBM platforms have yet to be formally laid out, it is widely anticipated that Ascential’s stack of data integration, metadata management, and data quality tools will be absorbed into IBM’s DB2 and WebSphere brands. WebSphere Information Integrator is the most obvious integration point.

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