Test Center review: Open source data aces
Jitterbit 2.0 impresses with easy GUI for mastering migration projects, while Talend Open Studio 3.0 scales gracefully to meet enterprise integration demandsFollow @infoworld
If any software market deserved to be shaken up by open source alternatives, it's enterprise data integration. Commercial, enterprise-grade integration tools -- typically cobbled together from M&A and legacy patchworks -- are notoriously unwieldy and impose an arduous learning curve. Complexity frequently stalls deployments by months, and aftermarket consulting can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the TCO.
Enter Jitterbit and Talend, two fresh starts in a land of stodgy giants. Talend hits all the highlights one would look for in traditional integration platforms: batch delivery, transforms, ETL (extract, transform, and load), data governance, and a strong set of connectivity adapters. At the same time it keeps pace with important trends with such features as change data capture, metadata support, federated views, and SOA-based access to data services. Talend is capable of scaling from small departmental file migrations to large-scale enterprise warehousing projects.
[ Read about the very best open source software products in InfoWorld's Best of Open Source Software Awards 2008. See the Test Center review of open source reporting solutions, JasperServer and Pentaho Reporting. ]
Jitterbit, by contrast, is the classic case of less is more: a lighter-weight and extensible point solution that can shortcut simple migration projects by weeks. If you’re in need of a quick fix for a one-off data migration project -- to quickly move from Salesforce.com to SugarCRM, for example -- Jitterbit's simple, menu-driven interface takes a lot of the tedium out of profiling application data.
These products may not yet surpass the master data management and messaging transform prowess of IBM Information Server, or the legacy and b-to-b domain expertise found in Informatica PowerCenter. But they offer substantial cost savings compared to these commercial counterparts, and their ability to shortcut complexity makes them additionally hard to resist.
Jitterbit 2.0: Master of migration
If you’ve used the 1.x versions of Jitterbit, you’re sure to appreciate the improvements packed into Jitterbit 2.0. The new graphical UI, akin to a BPM modeler for business analysts, is one of the easiest workflow builders I’ve used. Parallel processing and data chunking have been added -- good for speeding up bulk moves to targets such as Salesforce.com that throttle the number of records per transaction. Plus, Jitterbit can now consume and expose SOAP Web services.
Unlike Talend, Jitterbit follows a client/server model and uses a centralized scheduling and processing engine. I was impressed by Jitterbit's small footprint and decent performance, but the centralized architecture could present a bottleneck in high-volume scenarios. Scalability is also limited by the absence of features for cluster management, load balanced routing, and real-time business monitoring.
Jitterbit can connect to a variety of sources, using ODBC or JDBC, but there are no native drivers as found in Talend. There is also no JMS support and no direct support for working with PDFs or EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) files. An SDK plug-in allows you to leverage external Java rules, but you’re otherwise limited to working in Jitterbit’s proprietary scripting language.