Cast Iron rolls out OmniConnect data integration kit

The product is positioned as a one-stop shop for cloud and on-premise data integration needs

Data integration specialist Cast Iron Systems is about to release a new offering aimed at both on-premises and cloud-based scenarios.

Cast Iron OmniConnect, to be available Tuesday, represents an evolution of the vendor's existing IaaS (integration as a service) and on-premises offerings. It is available in on-demand form, as an on-premises or hosted virtual appliance, or as a hardware appliance.

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The new software includes a cloud-based management dashboard, a mashup tool that allows data from one application to reside in the user interface of another, and a CDK (connector development kit) for building new integrations.

Customers will increasingly have hybrid IT environments composed of on-demand and on-premises systems, and data integration requirements will become much more complicated as they add more SaaS (software as a service) applications, said Chandar Pattabhiram, vice president of product and channel marketing.

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To that end, Cast Iron's offerings can also perform business process integration, such as converting quotes from for use in SAP. The OmniConnect release includes a new development kit for creating TIPs (template integration processes). Customers can search a library of prebuilt TIPs and share their own on a community exchange.

ISVs (independent software vendors) can embed and rebrand OmniConnect as well. Dell's Integration Services group is already using Cast Iron technology.

Pricing for Cast Iron's software varies widely depending on the type and amount of data being integrated. The vendor competes with a range of large and small vendors, such as SnapLogic, Informatica, Oracle and IBM.

Longtime Cast Iron customer Awana, an international ministry, is relying heavily on SaaS applications and due to a combination of limited resources and widespread operations, faces "Fortune 500 problems on a nonprofit budget," said Judi Smith, director of strategic services.

The ministry chose Cast Iron over Microsoft's BizTalk Server platform. It realized Cast Iron would provide a better return on investment, despite the substantial discount Microsoft would have given to the nonprofit, she said.

Awana has completed a wide range of integrations, such as tying its system to Oracle's JD Edwards ERP application, and its work isn't over. The nonprofit is planning to go live in April on a SaaS ERP (enterprise resource planning) system from Intacct.

Today's data integration needs aren't easily met without dedicated technology like Cast Iron's, according to Smith. "I'd still be back on the first five [integrations] if I had to write them in code," she said.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.