IBM Information Server Blade does data integration

Appliance-like blade system with Information Server reconciles and integrates data from multiple sources

For years IBM has doggedly pursued the massive problem of pulling data strewn across the enterprise into an integrated, harmonious whole. At LinuxWorld on Monday, the company introduced IBM Information Server Blade, an appliance-like bundle intended to make the Herculean task of enterprise data integration faster and easier.

IBM Information Server Blade includes an IBM BladeCenter HS21 with Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running Red Hat Linux, on top of which sits Information Server -- a suite of data cleansing, information management, and data profiling tools built around a metadata repository. With the aid of IBM Workload Manager, the blade setup is configured as a grid, which IBM says is ideal for data integration tasks.

According to Rob Vrablick, IBM Information Server Blade strategy and planning manager, the new offering was created in response to customer demand. "When [customers] looked at the massive volumes of data that they needed to deal with, and they looked at current deployment options that they are faced with, they said, 'You know, this could get rather expensive…what could you come up with to make it easier to deploy and manage?'"

Vrablick told InfoWorld that IBM went back to the lab to create a low-cost, high-performance solution. Normally, data integration products like Information Server run on large, expensive, symmetric multiprocessing systems. IBM saw that the parallel processes inherent in Information Server weren't just conducive to multiprocessing -- they could be adapted to run on grid computing technology. "Grid technology and parallel execution is a match made in heaven," said Vrablick.

The new solution, claimed Vrablick, results in much faster deployment plus dramatic performance increases in the six-fold range. And the grid/blade configuration makes Information Server "dispatchable over an infinite number of nodes." Extreme performance and scalability is often necessary, he said, due to the high volume of information that must be analyzed, cleansed, and consolidated.

IBM Global Services will offer industry-specific consulting to help set up workflows around the data integration platform. Information Server Blade will be available worldwide in October.  

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