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PowerCenter 7: The Sum Of Its Parts

Adaptive data integration has arrived at software maker Informatica has with the release of PowerCenter 7, its flagship data integration suite for the enterprise.

Mixing in its extended partnership with IBM's On Demand service, as well as its September purchase of mainframe data integrator Striva, Informatica has created what it calls the next generation of data integration -- adaptive data integration.

Officials say the improvements to its data integration application let the enterprise adapt to changes within the IT environment without the need for hardwiring or coding of applications. Instead of IT managers responding to changing conditions within the company, the software will make its own adjustments to server loads.

The technology for PowerCenter 7's on-demand computing and data comes from IBM, which has been making a huge push in the business world for adoption of utility computing as it's also known. With it, when one server is reaching its CPU maximum, the processing requirements are switched to another server within the intranet.

Another facet of its on-demand data offering is the application's ability to efficiently handle data stored in a mainframe. Normally, users would get the information by having the data culled from the mainframe and then processed by the application. Informatica took a different tack and bought mainframe integrator Striva, which it had been a customer of for years and had a solution that brought the processing to the mainframe.

With Striva's technology in PowerCenter, users can get batch reports, change data capture or real-time reports. It's a critical piece of technology for PowerCenter, said Sanjay Poonen, Informatica senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

"These folks have figured out how to intelligently muliplex the three forms of the delivery of data," he said. "That's a huge deal, because if you think about some of the large companies like the federal government that have large mainframes, they can't afford to download the entire data set. But having the ability to know what has changed and move just that data is invaluable."

Other improvements in PowerCenter 7 include:

  • Web services and standards support - provides pre-built support for data integration processes throughout the services-oriented architecture (SOA). PowerCenter 7 is also the first to support the lightweight directory authentication protocol (LDAP) and common warehouse model (CWM).
  • Data stewardship - Data technology focused on compliance. It includes data profiling, metadata management and data quality. Built-in data profiling software functions in a similar fashion to Microsoft Word's spell-checker, verifying that information on forms is correct such as names and other personal information.
  • Team-based development - Whether team members are across the hall or across the ocean, PowerCenter 7 manages issues like the check-in/check-out of collaborative projects using a three-tiered architecture.
  • Pervasive security - Informatica signed a deal with VeriSign to provide Web services-based security and RSA encryption technology for data transmission.
PowerCenter 7 will become publicly available Dec. 5, with pricing starting at $200,000. Current users get the upgrade as part of their maintenance contract, with a purchase plan for some of the newer components.