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Business Objects Updates ETL Tool

Business Objects SA unveiled a new version of its Data Integrator data warehousing tool this month. Company officials say Data Integrator 6.5 boasts a bevy of goodies, including new change-capture features for Oracle databases and optional data quality capabilities via an agreement with Firstlogic.

For some prospective users, however, the product’s new integration with Business Objects’ Crystal Enterprise will probably be its most attractive feature. Thanks to a new wizard-based Data Mart Accelerator for Crystal Reports, users can build extraction, transformation and load (ETL) jobs that populate data marts with information from existing Crystal report instances and data content.

“A lot of Crystal Enterprise Customers are using Crystal for enterprise reporting, and what we’ve found is that many of them don’t have a proper infrastructure for analytical style of reporting … in a majority of cases, they don’t actually have a data warehouse,” says Darren Cunningham, product marketing manager for Data Integrator. “So what Data Integrator [6.5] is now able to do is read all of that history and all of the complex formulas within that report and pull that into the data warehousing environment.”

Elsewhere, Business Objects has partnered with data-quality specialist Firstlogic to support data cleansing by means of integration between Data Integrator and Firstlogic’s Information Quality Suite.

Business Objects also introduced several core enhancements in the new Data Integrator release, Cunningham says. “We’re introducing the ability for designers to troubleshoot and identify problems in the data all the way through the ETL process, interactive debugging that allows you to trace a row of data all the way through and after the transformation,” he notes. In addition, Data Integrator 6.5 boasts enhancements to the data profiling features that Business Objects delivered in the previous version of the product: “In the last release, we introduced data profiling, and this has been expanded to include this notion of interactive debugging of your ETL jobs.”

Another new addition is support for grid computing, which Cunningham says enables customers to tie together multiple machines to handle complex ETL jobs.

After it acquired ETL pure-player Acta Technologies almost two years ago, Business Objects rebranded Acta’s ActaWorks ETL technology as Data Integrator. Since then, the BI powerhouse has introduced two revs of the Data Integrator product, starting with Data Integrator 6.0 in January 2003, and expanded its capabilities and feature set. Although Acta was primarily known as an SAP specialist, Business Objects has expanded Data Integrator to support a variety of different application and database environments, including Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel and J.D. Edwards.

Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis, says, “The continuing evolution of the acquired data integration product under Business Objects’ watch and its integration with Business Objects’ product portfolio bodes well for the continuing support, evolution, and integration of the more recently acquired Crystal Decisions product set.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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