Extensible shared data services intended to reduce customers' data integration costs and risks
Edinburgh, Scotland — May 17, 2004 — Data integration specialist Informatica used its recent user conference here to unveil its product vision and roadmap for delivering a universal data services (UDS) architecture, a new paradigm for accessing, integrating, visualizing and auditing enterprise information.
Announced by Gaurav Dhillon, the company's president and CEO, during his keynote at the conference, Informatica's vision for UDS will underpin the company's strategic technologies, products and services going forward, according to the solution provider.
"UDS is evolutionary for Informatica, but revolutionary in its implications for delivering value to customers," asserted Dhillon. "Informatica has always advocated a unified platform approach to data access, integration and visualization. With our data server backbone, we deliver for data interaction what application servers provide for applications."
Dhillon went on to say that companies should be able to apply the UDS architecture to addressing IT's biggest cost burden, managing data interaction points between a variety of applications, systems and people.
The UDS architecture enables shared data services for access, integration, visualization and auditing to come together on an as-needed basis to address existing and emerging business problems and opportunities, Informatica said. Many of these data services already exist in Informatica's software for connectivity, data integration, visualization and metadata management. Informatica will evolve these services and develop new services over time.
Designed to address complex data integration problems, the UDS architecture provides a single data server that includes foundation services for data interaction such as enterprise-level performance, scalability, availability, metadata management, optimization, security, scheduling and workflow. Unified into one server, these core functions and services can be leveraged on an "on demand" basis by various shared data services.
"A shared data services model will help customers reduce cost and risk in their integration projects," said Andreas Bitterer, vice president at technology research firm META Group. "Companies adopting a shared services architecture will increase visibility, consistency, accuracy and general understanding of corporate data, enabling the organization to better leverage the immense investments in business applications."
"Informatica's Universal Data Services architecture, anchored on a common data server, is designed to provide shared services for data access, integration, audit and visualization," said Henry Morris, group vice president for applications and information access at technology consultancy IDC Research. "These services are critical for a wide variety of integration solutions, whether built by corporate IT or by third-party partners. This is especially important as end users recognize that providing an audit trail on how data is integrated is critical for meeting compliance requirements."
Informatica's UDS architecture also features an environment that includes a set of shared data services. Companies using UDS can work to eliminate silos of integration while achieving consistent views of information across the organization, and they can use the architecture to extend the utility of existing systems without changing them, helping to reduce costs and business risks across such IT projects as data migration and synchronization, system consolidation and integration competency centers, Informatica said.
Bill Carson, vice president of application solutions at Informatica customer 1-800-FLOWERS, said that the new architecture should help his company to accomplish significant reuse of integration logic from project to project. "We are confident that it will meet our increasingly complex data integration needs as 1-800-FLOWERS.com continues to grow through acquisitions and we focus on consolidating the resulting disparate IT systems," Carson said.
According to Informatica, the openness and extensibility of the UDS approach will allow third-party companies and customers to create their own shared services to plug into the architecture and take advantage of Informatica's data server. Third parties will also be able to embed the data server in their offerings and create new products that meet specific customer needs by combining new and existing UDS-enabled shared services.
As part of Informatica's future product roadmap, the company said it intends to evolve its existing shared services into "smart" services that will help accelerate design productivity, integration performance and manageability of integration processes. Among planned smart services is a smart integration design service that will use Informatica data server's metadata-based knowledge of data content, location and relationships to find desired data and propose how best to deliver it in order to free designers of those tasks.
Another projected smart service is a universal cost-based optimizer that extends Informatica's cost-based optimization capabilities across the integration process, making decisions on where, how and in what order to process the data. By reducing the human intervention presently required for many integration tasks, these and other smart services will make it easier for companies to start new integration projects, help to liberate IT from manually running many integration processes and free up resources for strategic initiatives, Informatica asserted.