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SnapLogic Offers Open Source Data Integration Beta

Why can't data integration work more like the Web? That Henry Higgins-type formulation is the sort of idea being spearheaded by SnapLogic, which aims to see database transfer technologies move more in the direction of a Web services model, using simple REST (Representational State Transfer) architectural protocols.

SnapLogic's concept doesn't adopt the sort of closed-minded stance represented by the Higgins character in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion play. Higgins is the propriety-fixated professor of phonetics who asks, "Why can't a woman be more like a man." Instead, the company is shepherding a model in tune with the open source community.

SnapLogic wants to establish a data services layer based on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) open source solution stack.

The company has already released a beta version of its open source data integration solution and recently received $2.5 million in additional financing from Dhillon Capital for further development of the open source project.

The need for an open source approach to data integration is being made clear by the success of Web services firms like Salesforce.com, said Chris Marino, SnapLogic's CEO.

However, industry standards such as SOAP are smothering the adoption of applications, he added. Meanwhile, applications like RSS feeds are having a greater impact because of the use of simple Web-based protocols.

Marino cited the experience of established data integration companies like Informatica, which builds individual connectors to piece together data. Doing so just bogs down the industry and leaves data integration in the hands of people doing hand-coded solutions, and that's a recipe for collapse, he said.

Incidentally, SnapLogic's founders formerly worked at Informatica. SnapLogic's Chairman of the Board, Gaurav Dhillon, was founder and CEO of Informatica. Mike Pittaro, SnapLogic's chief community officer, was director of customer services at Informatica. Marino previously served as founder and CEO of Resonate, a traffic management company.

SnapLogic is not using the W3C standards such as SOAP, nor is it using Web services protocols, Marino said. Its solution is modeled after the simple GET and PUT protocols of the REST architecture that is used between software components. The simplicity of the access protocol makes it easier to support data integration and transformation, he added.

SnapLogic is adopting an approach much like Microsoft's experimental Web services data model code-named "Astoria," Marino explained, except that SnapLogic has taken the open source path.

"Microsoft has embraced everything we are talking about here [with SnapLogic] today," Marino said. "It's a great validation of our approach." He added that Microsoft's Astoria is intended as an add-on to Microsoft's proprietary SQL Server environment.

Marino said that SnapLogic is hoping its approach can be adopted so that there can be a new infrastructure layer that can capture data from different products and roll it up into a database, taking data from different sources and mashing it up on the browser.

SnapLogic's software is licensed in accordance with the Opens Source Initiative's General Public License approach, but the specific form of the license hasn't been determined yet, Marino said.

SnapLogic's beta release can be downloaded here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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