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Embarcadero launches "ETL lite" tool

As suppliers of extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) tools are increasingly absorbed by front-end analytical players such as Business Objects and Informatica, officials at Embarcadero Technologies Inc. maintain their company is in the right place at the right time for a foray into ETL.

The San Francisco-based database and development tools maker says many DBAs and database managers still use manual methods to solve data migration and integration problems. The company's DT/Studio, a Java-based server application brought out in February and upgraded this week, targets companies looking for advanced ETL functionality at a lower price point and with less complexity than many more established products. In addition, Embarcadero officials envision a role for ETL beyond data warehousing, encompassing application integration and migration, data migration, business analytics, data cleansing and more -- without dictating a front-end tool. 'The customers for analytics and ETL processes are two different groups of people in an organization,' said Stephen Aikins, product manager. 'We like to think we can be part of the back-end infrastructure, but we aren't making decisions about the analytics packages. There's room for best-of-breed as an ETL vendor.'

Aikens contends that a differentiator for DT/Studio is the optional Delta Agent module for change data capture (CDC) available in the new 1.8 release. By scraping the transaction log, Delta Agent can capture and move just the changes from the source table to the target, which adds little if any overhead -- and near-real-time data integration, he added. 'It's working the same as replication for high availability has always worked, but this is new for ETL,' said Aikins. Other new features in this release include an XML reader, multi-input join, parallel writing enhancements, reporting enhancements, pre/post task user exits, runtime parameters and a data debugger. DT/Studio is priced per CPU, starting at $35,000. Delta Agent is priced per data source for $25,000.

In about six weeks, Aikins said, another version of DT/Studio will be able to receive from and send to message queues for real-time integration. 'We're going to provide that functionality without the overhead of an EAI system; we'll use the log and database hooks under the covers. We aren't looking to replace EAI, but there's certainly a lot of overlap. Customers may not need an EAI solution for what they want to do.' For those customers that do need a full-blown EAI solution, Embarcadero in May announced alliances with three EAI vendors: Attunity, Information Builders/iWay Software and Neon Systems Inc., he noted.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.

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