Informatica 9.5 Platform Adds Extended Hadoop Support

Informatica will be updating its flagship Informatica Platform to facilitate the integration of big data with legacy and cloud-based repositories. The announcement was made this week at the company's annual Informatica World conference, currently being held in Las Vegas.

Informatica last year dipped its toe into the world of big data by releasing HParser, a connector that can read and write data in and out of a Hadoop-based data store. While that marked a key step into world of open-source data management, Informatica is now making a push that aims to have broader appeal to its customer base. With the release of the new Informatica 9.5 Platform, scheduled for next month, the company said it is making it easier for broad set of developers that have little or no Hadoop programming expertise.

The problem is most Hadoop development today requires hand coding of databases using such interfaces as the Java MapReduce API via new scripting languages such as Hive and Pig, which doesn't lend itself to a broad ecosystem, explained Girish Pancha, Informatica's executive VP and chief product officer.

"That's unsustainable in the long run. The cost of ownership when you hand code to these systems is going to skyrocket," Pancha said.

With the Informatica 9.5 platform and the new HParser, the company is promising improved data transformation capabilities. HParser parses software without requiring developers to write, test or transform any code. Developers can parse files regardless of their format within a Hadoop-based repository.

"We have solved the puzzle of having tooling that can help you effectively do data integration, data transformation and data parsing without having to write code," Pancha said. "Historically we've done that with IBM, Oracle and Terradata so why not do it for Hadoop?"

According to Pancha, the move to Hadoop stems from growing interest among enterprises for the low-cost, open-source data management platform.

With its Hadoop announcement, Informatica said it is supporting a number of key distributions including Cloudera Enterprise, Hortonworks Data Platform, MapR Technologies' MapR and Amazon Web Services' Elastic Map Reduce. Pancha said Informatica already has a handful of customers that have run some large-scale Hadoop deployments to Amazon's EMR. But he acknowledges though a number of large enterprises are interested in Hadoop, only a handful have significant efforts afoot to date.

The Informatica 9.5 Platform covers all of the company's products including the Informatica Cloud, its platform as a service offering that provides integration between premises and cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) offerings.

Leveraging its core MDM competency, the new Informatica 9.5 Platform also adds support for so-called "interactional data." That includes content from social media such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as information generated from e-commerce and collaboration sites, where companies increasingly are looking to parse and analyze data coming from those and other non-traditional sources.

"It gives a fourth dimension view of these objects that allow better decisions and insight into customers," Pancha said. "With this interactional data, you can consider the influence a customer has. If they have a large network of friends or are active on social media you may want to treat them differently than if they are not."

In addition to marrying MDM with these new data types, the new Informatica 9.5 Platform introduces the notion of a master data timeline, which keeps track of what's known about an object (say a person or a product) and provides historical context. This allows an individual to query what was known about a specific entity at any point in time, according to Pancha.

In July, Informatica will release the beta of an update to the new platform, dubbed Informatica 9.5.1, slated to ship by year's end. The new release will target information lifecycle management, known as ILM, by offering improved data management capabilities. It will offer improved compression capabilities for data archiving.

This week's announcement of the new Informatica platform follows the release two weeks ago of Informatica Cloud Spring 2012. While the company has offered cloud integration connectors to popular SaaS and premises-based applications and repositories, the company is now extending its outreach to developers and partners.

To accomplish that, Informatica released its Cloud Connector Toolkit, designed to let partners develop their own tools and connectors and offer them on Informatica's marketplace and Cloud Integration Templates, aimed at ISVs that require commonly used integration connectors.

Also, Informatica will announce partnerships in the coming months to extend its marketplace of connectors to the ISV community. Thus far, Informatica has partnerships with Astadia, Good Data, Microstrategy, Newmarket International, Silverline, TargetX, Ultimate Software and Xactly.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.