RealTime IT News

IBM Hopes High For 'Hawk'

IBM unveiled new integration software from its purchase of Ascential Software and a records management application to help customers meet compliance demands.

Big Blue took the covers off its new WebSphere Data Integration Suite, code-named Hawk, which is the result of its integration of Ascential software.

Businesses can use the software to construct enterprise data warehouses or run business intelligence systems, as well as shrink enterprise applications to help them fit more appropriately on a computer network. Hawk lets data administrators interpret source data, preserve the quality of that data, transform data and manage metadata.

Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBM's information management unit, said the suite combines IBM's Information Integrator software and Ascential's Hawk platform, capping off a lot of work that accelerated when IBM closed the Ascential deal.

"We believe that having one place to go for all of your information needs as opposed to lots and lots of databases to keep track of and figure out how to talk to is really where we're all going," Jones said in an interview.

IBM will launch an open customer beta test of the WebSphere Data Integration Suite in the second quarter. The finished product coming before the year is through, Jones said.

To further pad its Ascential assets, IBM will add more software developers to its former Ascential research and development centers located in Westborough, Mass., Boca Raton, Fla., Secunderaband, India, and Middlesex, England. The expanded centers will be used to help customers test IBM's information integration software, including Hawk.

Today's news show that IBM is very serious about data integration, which many experts acknowledge as the key to unlocking great revenues with such technologies Web services , service-oriented architectures (SOA) , and enterprise search.

IBM has many competitors on the Web services and SOA front, including BEA Systems, Oracle and Microsoft. The ability to integrate information at a high level should give the company some advantages.

But to this point, the biggest challenge has been digesting Ascential, which it acquired earlier this year to add better data-integration capabilities.

IBM Wednesday also took steps to shore up records management in the face of pressing compliance regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA.

The Federated Records Management (FRM) software combines IBM DB2 Records Manager and IBM WebSphere Information Integrator Content Edition to manage recordkeeping policies for content, regardless of where the records are stored.

Jones said a key value proposition in this product is FRM's ability to manage files from almost any application or interface, making it easier for clients to control multiple far-flung repositories of unstructured data more quickly.

"Rather than forcing you to centralize your records in a giant repository, we will allow you to leave your unstructured information where it sits and still provide records management capabilities," Jones said.