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Informatica Extends Hadoop Support with New Integration Platform

When it comes to integrating disparate information sources and providing master data management (MDM), Informatica is regarded as one of the leading suppliers of software to large enterprises. So it bears pointing out that as the company holds its annual Informatica World conference this week in Las Vegas, it's announcing an update to its flagship Informatica Platform that will facilitate the integration of big data with legacy and cloud-based repositories.

Informatica last year dipped its toe into the world of big data by releasing HParser, a connector that can read and write data in to and out of a Hadoop-based data store. While that marked a key step into world of open-source data management, Informatica is now making a push that aims to have broader appeal to its customer base. With the release of the new Informatica 9.5 Platform, scheduled for next month, the company is making it easier for broad set of developers that have little or no Hadoop programming expertise.

The problem is most Hadoop development today requires hand coding of databases using such interfaces as the Java MapReduce API via new scripting languages such as Hive and Pig, which doesn't lend itself to a broad ecosystem, explained Girish Pancha, Informatica's executive VP and chief product officer. "That's unsustainable in the long run. The cost of ownership when you hand code to these systems is going to skyrocket," Pancha said.

With the Informatica 9.5 platform and the new HParser, the company is promising improved data transformation capabilities. HParser parses software without requiring developers to write, test or transform any code. Developers can parse files regardless of their format within a Hadoop-based repository.

"We have solved the puzzle of having tooling that can help you effectively do data integration, data transformation and data parsing without having to write code," Pancha said. "Historically we've done that with IBM, Oracle and Teradata so why not do it for Hadoop?" The move to Hadoop of course stems from growing interest among enterprises in the low-cost, open-source data management platform that is taking the cloud computing and software industry by storm.

With its Hadoop announcement, Informatica said it is supporting a number of key distributions including Cloudera Enterprise, Hortonworks Data Platform, MapR Technologies' MapR and Amazon Web Services' Elastic Map Reduce. Pancha said Informatica already has a handful of customers that have run some large scale Hadoop deployments to Amazon's EMR. But he acknowledges though a number of large enterprises are interested in Hadoop, only a handful have significant efforts afoot to date.

The Informatica 9.5 Platform covers all of the company's products including the Informatica Cloud, its platform as a service offering that provides integration between premises and cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) offerings.

Leveraging its core MDM competency, the new Informatica 9.5 Platform also adds support for so-called "interactional data." That of course includes content from social media such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as information generated from e-commerce and collaboration sites, where companies increasingly are looking to parse and analyze data coming from those and other non-traditional sources.

"It gives a fourth dimension view of these objects that allow better decisions and insight into customers," Pancha said. "With this interactional data, you can consider the influence a customer has. If they have a large network of friends or are active on social media you may want to treat them differently than if they are not."

In addition to marrying MDM with these new data types, the new Informatica 9.5 Platform introduces the notion of a master data timeline, which keeps track of what's known about an object (say a person or a product) and provides historical context. This allows an individual to query what was known about a specific entity at any point in time, according to Pancha.

In July, Informatica will release the beta of an update to the new platform, dubbed Informatica 9.5.1, slated to ship by year's end. The new release will target information lifecycle management, known as ILM, by offering improved data management capabilities. It'll among other things offer improved compression capabilities making it better suited, and more affordable, for data archiving.

This week's launch of the new Informatica platform follows the release two weeks ago of Informatica Cloud Spring 2012. While the company for some time has offered cloud integration connectors to popular SaaS and premises-based applications and repositories, the company is now extending its outreach to developers and partners.

To accomplish that, Informatica released its Cloud Connector Toolkit, designed to let partners develop their own tools and connectors and offer them on Informatica's marketplace and Cloud Integration Templates, aimed at ISVs that require commonly used integration connectors.

Also, Informatica will announce partnerships in the coming months to extend its marketplace of connectors to the ISV community. Thus far, Informatica has partnerships with Astadia, Good Data, Microstrategy, Newmarket International, Silverline, TargetX, Ultimate Software and Xactly.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 05/17/2012 at 9:03 AM


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