Oracle overhauls ETL, Warehouse Builder released
- By John K. Waters
Oracle Corp. today released the long-awaited overhaul of its
database design and ETL (extraction, transformation and load) tool,
Warehouse Builder 10g, Release 2 (formerly code-named
Warehouse Builder is Oracle's toolset for managing the lifecycle of
data and metadata, from design to deployment and maintenance, for
Oracle Database. At a basic level, the product turns raw data into what
Oracle calls "quality information," says Oracle senior group
manager Paul Narth.
"The difference between 'data' and 'information' is that the
latter has quality checks and cleansing applied to it to turn it into
something meaningful," Narth tells DataTrends. "We try not to
confuse the two."
As the name suggests, the tool is used in data warehousing, but in
some ways it's a bit of a misnomer, says Narth, because it can be used
in much broader data movements. This release adds support for pluggable
mappings, slowly changing dimensions, data modeling of both relational
and multidimensional objects, and data profiling, among others.
The latest release is actually the eighth since the tool was first
introduced in January 2000. Last year, industry analyst firm Gartner
included Warehouse Builder among the leaders in its well-known Magic
Quadrant report, alongside enterprise ETL solutions from IBM and
With this release, Warehouse Builder is no longer part of the
Developer Suites, but comes packaged with the Oracle database. The core
ETL features are free with the database Standard Edition, Standard
Edition One and Enterprise Edition. Those "core" features map
to the previous 10g Release 1 version.
This release also supports non-Oracle databases, allowing users to
choose where their data is ultimately stored. And it comes with a
wealth of new APIs.
One of the more intriguing new features in this release, called
“Experts,” is designed to enable organizations to
encapsulate their own development standards and best practices as
wizards. "This feature gives a broad range of users—including
end users—access to Warehouse Builder’s declarative
functionality," explains Narth. "Let's say, for instance,
that I want my end users to get data into a table, but these particular
end users don't know anything about using an ETL tool. That's an
increasingly common scenario. They are, however, perfectly capable of
using a wizard. They don't need to know the mechanisms, what's
happening under the covers; they can be protected from all of
Other new features in this release include a new, interactive
lineage and impact analyzer; user defined objects and associations; and
a change propagator designed to facilitate rapid response to changing
metadata. A data quality option supports data profiling, data rules,
data cleansing/auto-correction and data auditing.
The new Warehouse Builder Connectors provide a means of extracting
data quickly and easily, and in some cases, of targeting data in an
organization's core CRM and ERP applications. The existing Oracle
Warehouse Builder Connector for SAP has been enhanced and now supports
variable substitution within ABAP and direct deployment and execution
of ABAP code. But, although it does support ETL from SAP apps into the
Oracle DB, it doesn't support the reverse.
A recent release of Warehouse Builder on the Oracle Technology
Network (OTN) generated 1,400 downloads, Narth says.
The production version of Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2 is
generally available for 10 platforms including Linux and Windows. A
free evaluation version is available now.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached