RealTime IT News

An Ensemble Cast For App Integration

For 25 years, InterSystems' bread-and-butter product has been its InterSystems Cache database. In a departure from the past, next week officials will unveil an application integration product.

Ensemble is the culmination of a year of research and six months of testing after InterSystems customers kept asking for an interface and integrator to bind its databases with enterprise applications developed by companies like SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle.

It's an area the Cambridge, Mass., company thinks it can compete effectively: many of the larger companies today are pitching an all-in-one software package for the enterprise and not many are willing (or financially able) to pick up the cost.

Integration, however, lets companies keep their existing applications and database -- products they are already familiar and comfortable with -- and have the ability to tack on new applications when needed.

"When you talk to the CIOs, they think of new application development, or new application purchases as being relatively expensive, relatively high-risk, relatively long payback," said Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems vice president of strategic planning. "They think of integration as being shorter-duration, quicker payback, lower risk -- less chance of losing their jobs, and I really think it's that mood that's driving a lot of interest in integration in the marketplace."

According to research firm IDC application integration will take top billing in 2004 with IT managers as more important than security or Web-based projects.

With a leading database presence in the healthcare industry already, InterSystems hopes to garner interest in Ensemble to the companies that have deployed more than 100,000 systems worldwide, as well as attract new customers. Grabscheid expects Ensemble to reach the revenue levels of its InterSystems Cache product, which has seen about 30 percent growth annually, in about five years.

Ensemble is based on three key functional areas: universal service architecture, persistent object engine and end-to-end management. All three cover the gamut of enterprise management of applications running on the intranet.

The adapters in the universal service architecture allow any developer platform -- be it J2EE , .NET or XML -- to plug into a database (like InterSystems Cache, for example, or SAP, or SQL Server). Customers can buy business intelligence tools to run with Ensemble's persistent object engine to find out the metrics that are driving business within the enterprise. Finally, its end-to-end management capability allows IT managers to follow the progress of any application or process and determine where any errors are occurring, or to find where any chokepoints are developing.

Officials are pricing Ensemble at $125,000 for a full license, except in the case of adaptors for SAP, Siebel or PeopleSoft, which are priced individually.