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Informatica Hits Data Integration Fast Lane

Data integration specialists Informatica rolled out an expanded version of its PowerCenter application and also updated its product roadmap with a glimpse of where the industry's going.

PowerCenter Advanced Edition is an offering that binds the Redwood City, Calif., company's data integration platform with its SuperGlue metadata management and PowerAnalyzer business intelligence (BI) applications. Also included is distributed computing and team-based deployment capabilities.

Officials said buying the three software packages separately in the past would have cost customers more than $600,000; officials are now making a push for the software under one product at $180,000.

The end goal, officials said, is to provide a single, consistent, view to an enterprise's data and give customers the ability to better manage data integration projects like data warehousing, consolidation and migration.

By rolling applications like its PowerAnalyzer, which creates dashboards and reports of the data compiled by its PowerCenter, Informatica has fashioned itself into a data integration company, not the BI vendor it has styled itself in the past. Neal Hill, senior vice president of corporate development at BI developer Cognos, said in a statement he is pleased Informatica is now completely focused on data integration, and looks forward to working with the company.

According to Mark Smith, senior vice president of research at Ventana Research, the move will help the company build ties in the BI community, which might have once seen Informatica as a competitor.

"By not directly competing with the traditional BI vendors like Cognos, Informatica has the opportunity to reestablish strategic partnerships with these vendors and further strengthen partnerships with Siebel and SAP," he said in a statement.

With its product strategy in place, Informatica plans to release two major updates to the PowerCenter core in the next 18 months, code-named Zeus and Hercules. Officials say the upcoming versions will focus on broadening its customer base and cross-enterprise deployments.

Zeus, scheduled for a fall 2005 release, will support unstructured --or data outside the database -- and semi-structured data in the upcoming release. Officials will also incorporate RSA encryption and compression to share documents with outside agencies like customers and trading partners.

Support for Java within the design environment and metadata support areas, as well as great enterprise scalability and reliability, is also expected.

Informatica's promise of "full demand" Universal Data Services (UDS) data integration is set for the fall 2006 launch of code-named Hercules. Last year, the company launched its UDS architecture initiative -- Informatica's service-oriented architecture (SOA) play -- to manage the interaction between application, systems and people.