Integration tools snapshot

Recent data access offerings focus on improved adaptors, high availability, XML functionality, and more. The middleware and data integration area has found new interest in recent weeks and months, as a host of vendors have focused efforts here.

The line between operations and analytics continues to blur. Messaging software continues to grow in functionality, and XML continues to find extensive use.

From Altova, which has moved beyond its XML tools base to include an enterprise-wide XML data integrator known as Mapforce 2004, to Zephyr Development, which now supports emulator deployment from both Java and Microsoft servers, the ways of integration are expanding.

The issues confronting Holland America Line Inc., Seattle, depict an often-heard theme within the integration world. The cruiseliner needed a solution to populate its operational data store directly from data sources (IDMS, Oracle, flat files) that were housed in more than 10 physical locations.

The company considered various ETL products before settling on tools from iWay Software, an Information Builders company. Holland America chose iWay Software's ETL Manager based on its integration with a reporting tool (WebFocus), the availability of a native adaptor for IDMS, as well as its prominence according to Gartner Inc. research, said Jon Dawson, project manager in the IT department. In addition, ETL Manager furnishes a single vendor solution in that iWay provides for both ETL and reporting.

After installing and using the product, Holland America has benefited from direct access to data that was not available prior to implementation and from one-step processing for updating its operational data store, Dawson noted. 'It has proven that iWay is an enterprise solution, as we have been able to implement across teams,' he added.

Dawson advises those looking to purchase an ETL tool to clearly define requirements and stick to the list. For those ready to roll, a snapshot list of recent tools follows.

Altova Inc.
Beverly, Mass.
Mapforce 2004 -- A visual data mapping tool with code-generation capabilities. (XML-based middleware)

Attunity Inc.
Wakefield, Mass.
Change Data Capture (CDC) -- Identifies and moves only the data that has changed. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

Business Objects
San Jose, Calif.
Data Integrator 6.5 -- Real-time and batch data integration platform that allows developers to build data marts; includes support for grid computing. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

Embarcadero Technologies Inc.
San Francisco, Calif.
DT/Studio 2.0 -- Transforms raw data into useful business information. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

Fiorano Software Inc.
Los Gatos, Calif.
ESB 3.5 -- A peer-to-peer Enterprise Service Bus product. (Messaging-based Middleware)

Informatica Corp.
Redwood City, Calif.
PowerCenter 7 -- A data integration platform with adaptive capabilities. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

iWay Software
New York, N.Y.
ETL Manager 5.5 -- Automated toolset designed to simplify data integration, including the creation, maintenance and expansion of data stores. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

Pervasive Software Inc.
Austin, Texas
Data Integrator -- Aggregates and integrates data for high-volume, continuous processing. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

Safe Software Inc.
Surrey, British Columbia
Feature Manipulation Engine Suite 2004 -- ETL tool for spatial data; includes a transformation editor, viewer, developer tools and coordinate conversion support. (Extract, Transform and Load tool)

Software AG
Darmstadt, Germany
EntireX Communicator 7.1.1 -- Communication broker that allows enterprises to open their existing IT systems to the Web or other servers as MS .NET or Java objects. (XML-based middleware)

Sonic Software Corp.
Bedford, Mass.
SonicMQ 6.0 -- Enterprise messaging system that reduces the time required to resume operations after hardware, software or network failures. (Messaging-based Middleware)

Tibco Software Inc.
Palo Alto, Calif.
Enterprise Messaging -- An integration development environment that bridges J2EE and .NET. (Messaging-based Middleware)

Zephyr Development Corp.
Houston, Texas
Passport Web to Host 2004 -- Integrates 3270, 5250, VT220 and SCO/ANSI terminal emulation within the framework of Internet Explorer. (Messaging-based Middleware)

About the Author

Lana Gates is a freelance writer based in Mesa, Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at


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