Informatica revs data integration platform

Revision to PowerCenter provides new features focused around real-time processing and business-to-business information sharing

Informatica will ship a major revision to its PowerCenter data integration platform this month, with new features focused around real-time processing and B-to-B (business-to-business) information sharing, the company said Tuesday.

Data integration products are used to collect, validate, standardize and deliver various types of structured and unstructured information to and from a range of sources.

The space has seen a wave of consolidation and therefore Informatica competes with IBM and Oracle, which acquired data integration technology by purchasing Ascential and Sunopsis, respectively. There are also a range of smaller vendors, such as Talend.

In terms of size, Informatica sits on top of the pureplay field, reporting $391 million in revenue for 2007 and claiming to have 3,000 customers.

The company is hoping the improvements in PowerCenter 8.6 can help it maintain its momentum.

It has combined a number of existing and new technologies to create PowerCenter Real-Time Edition. The package incorporates the company's real-time processing engine, previously available as an option, along with continuous change-data capture, which tracks changes to data sources on the fly.

Those features are bundled together with a set of BPEL (business process execution language) and BPMN (business process modeling notation) tools for orchestrating jobs without the need for custom programming.

The latter serves an important requirement, according to an industry researcher. "One problem that data integration has had is sort of a one-size-fits all approach," said David Stodder, vice president and research director at Ventana Research. "There is a lot of variety in the way organizations need information."

Informatica is also eyeing the B-to-B space. The new B-to-B Data Transformation engine, for reconciling and delivering data between enterprises, has "near-universal support" for unstructured data, as well as vertical standards such as the SWIFT protocol used in the financial services industry. An accompanying Data Exchange module provides automation and orchestration capabilities.

"In those B-to-B networks there has been so much focus on process integration and not on data integration," Stodder said.

The product's data quality feature set is getting an upgrade as well, through technology Informatica acquired by buying Identity Systems, maker of software that searches large data sets to pinpoint and match identities.

PowerCenter 8.6 will be available June 30. "Entry-level" pricing starts at $150,000, according to a spokeswoman.