IBM Integration Products Combine For Beta


IBM is doing more than putting data integration company Ascential in its back pocket for safe
keeping.


Big Blue is tucking the $1.1 billion acquisition into its middleware folds in new ways, wrapping together two major
products in a beta to see if they mesh well for customers.

The Armonk, N.Y., systems vendor has wrapped its own Serrano information
integration product, formally called WebSphere Information Integrator, with
the Ascential project Hawk, also known as WebSphere Data Integration Suite.


Combined, the software will make it easier for customers to integrate their
copious business information at a time when more stringent regulations
demand companies keep close tabs on their data, said Nelson Mattos,
distinguished engineer and vice president of information integration at IBM.


Mattos contends that businesses have large volumes of data but often don’t
know where it is or how to find it. Project
Serrano
helps users find information and integrate it.


Project
Hawk
lets data administrators interpret source data, preserve the
quality of that data, transform data and manage metadata. Ultimately
businesses can construct enterprise data warehouses or run business
intelligence systems with Hawk.


“Their capabilities are very complementary,” Mattos said. “This is ideal for
customers who don’t want to buy integrating software from different
vendors.”


Together, the software will help customers tap into structured information,
including databases, XML servers and ERP systems, and
unstructured information, such as PDFs or photos.


For now, the product merger is in beta, and IBM is soliciting customers to test it. Mattos said the public can expect to see products
before 2006.


Integration software makes life easier for businesses struggling to pinpoint
and manage their glut of data, which includes anything from account numbers
and access privileges to human resource records and other business
blueprints.


Thanks to homegrown WebSphere products and software from acquisitions like
Ascential, IBM is a leader in integration software, boasting more than 5,000
customers since the Ascential acquisition closed. Competition includes BEA
Systems, Informatica, Microsoft and a host of other software makers.


IBM is also prepping tow new integration products from Serrano and Hawk:
Rational Data Architect and WebSphere Information Analyzer, Mattos said.


Hatched in the Serrano project, IBM Rational Data Architect is a set of
tools for data modeling and database design. Built on the open source
Eclipse platform, which IBM helped forge, the software helps developers find
and analyze data across multiple information sources. Software architects
can automate integration tasks as they build new data models or reconcile
others.


WebSphere Information Analyzer, part of project Hawk, profiles and analyzes
data for business and data analysts. It shares a central repository with
WebSphere DataStage and WebSphere QualityStage, automating metadata sharing
across those products. The product also has a new user interface that will
eventually be ported to the whole information integration platform.


Data Architect and Information Analyzer are complementary, highlighting the
integration between the Serrano and Hawk projects. Models built in Rational
Data Architect can be used with WebSphere Information Analyzer for data
analysis and modeling.


Rational Data Architect and WebSphere Information Analyzer will be available
for beta testing throughout the summer.

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