DB2 Information Integrator software is tailored to help customers integrate information in multiple locations as if it were stored in one location. It is platform-agnostic, allowing business to manage data, text, images, photos, video and audio files that sit in a variety of databases. Products like this one are indicative of the push for integration software by enterprises looking to assimilate disparate software products into one central system.
In one example of how it works, a business can access and integrate relational data in DB2 Universal Database and Oracle, images in Documentum, e-mail in Lotus Notes, spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and Web Services generated by WebSphere Application Server -- in one query. The resulting data is presented in a consolidated view.
Giga Information Group Research Director Philip Russom praised DB2 Information Integrator when it was announced this past February, but stressed that the market for enterprise information integration (EII), as it's known, is far too nascent to predict whether IBM's on-demand computing strategy will work with the new DB2 products. Small pure plays in this space include Nimble Technology. MetaMatrix and Enosys, although BEA Systems offers Liquid Data, a comparable integration tool.
Russom said one of Big Blue's key differentiators is the fact that the new software offers allows businesses to access and integrate both structured (text documents) and unstructured (e-mail messages and flat files) information, as if it were stored in one place. Most rivals, he said, only handle structured data.
"IBM's EII platform is much more comprehensive than small-to mid-size vendors," Russom said. "One difference that is in your face is that everyone besides IBM is offering real-time data integration for structured data, but IBM also provides this for unstructured data. Another is that a customer can say 'I just want to use EII for queries.' IBM says 'we can do that'."
Russom said most EII systems are read-only, but IBM's Information Integrator allows customers to write back.
IBM counts Verizon, who recently switched from Oracle9i to IBM DB2, as one of its first customers for DB2 Information Integrator. Faced with the challenge of managing disparate infrastructure, Verizon used DB2 Information Integrator to achieve federated access and real-time information integration across Oracle to DB2 as part of the database migration project. Verizon plans to use the software to create a virtual data access layer to soften the impact of changing or upgrading database products in the future.
The software springs from IBM's Xperanto research project, a research and development effort focused on tackling rapidly changing data management needs.
IBM DB2 Information Integrator is available immediately from IBM and authorized resellers, and is priced at $20,000 per processor and $15,000 per data source connector.