UK-based Constellar Ltd, formerly The SQL Group, is looking to become to the software world what Cisco Systems Inc is to networks, by launching its Constellar Hub data replication product into the US. Constellar has already signed up its first two major US customers, First USA Bank and Hoffmann La-Roche Inc, and is establishing offices all along the East coast. Set up eight years ago by Oracle Corp refugees as an Oracle consultancy, Constellar now sees itself as a product company with a data replication product, Constellar Hub, that goes beyond data warehouse-type applications to enable movement of operational data from any system to any system. The product has also changed its name, from Information Junction, to spearhead the launch into the US. Product marketing manager Pauline Dunne explained the reasons behind the name change were due largely to the company’s thrust into the States, and the problems with having a generic name these days. She said the company was unable to set up a Web page using its name, and of course, anyone searching the World Wide Web for SQL, otherwise Structured Query Language, was likely to find anything but the company. Also, the company found it would be unable to trademark its Information Junction product in the US, since this was also considered to be too generic a name. Constellar Hub is based on a product originally written by the company specifically for British Telecommunications Plc, to aid the company’s migration from mainframe to open systems. It takes data in from a variety of different sources, be they mainframe legacy data in an IMS database, client-server data from relational databases such as Oracle, Informix and Sybase, or simply flat files. It then pipes the data into its transformation hub, which can contain the business rules and meta data necessary to enable data cleaning to be carried out. It is in the hub that it will check for duplicates, remove lines of data or fill them in, according to the business’ pre-defined rules. Once this is completed, data is pushed out from the hub along ‘spokes’ to any number of different systems.
Hub and spoke architecture
Because of this ‘hub and spoke’ architecture, the company says the product is highly scaleable, and can cater for the complex demands of transferring huge amounts of data from operational system to operational system, as well as the less complex data transfer required for data marts or data warehouses. Dunne says the system is ideally suited therefore to companies that have acquired or merged with other businesses, and need to integrate data from the various corporate systems. The company likes to see itself as the Cisco Systems Inc of the software world. It says just as the network, with hubs and routers from the likes of Cisco, replaced the idea of hard wiring dumb terminals to one particular mainframe, or server, so Constellar’s hub brings data from disparate sources in to one hub, and passes out to many target systems. The company now has offices in London, England, and Redwood City, California. Existing customers include BarclayCard , British Airports Authority and British Telecom. It would be more than happy if the US business overtakes the UK (CI No 2,854). Dunne says the US business is already growing very rapidly, and further offices and customers are imminent.