Along with new releases from lots of data warehousing vendors, TDWI has also seen in the formal announcement of the DataFlux Data Management Platform which was previously known as the Unity project. As the codename suggests this sees the introduction of a unified data integration, data quality, master data management and data governance suite from DataFlux.
A bit of history might be in order. Traditionally, DataFlux has been a data quality (cleanse, profile and so on) vendor. It then introduced MDM. However, data integration was a part of the SAS (DataFlux's parent company) platform and, while SAS did have a development project for data federation, it never really got to grips with this. So the task involved in creating the Platform was to bring ETL and data integration into the DataFlux environment, resurrect the previous data federation development and integrate all of this together with data quality and MDM, all as a part of a single platform. Needless to say this has been a long job.
Indeed, DataFlux is to be commended on keeping to its development schedule. I first got a detailed briefing on Platform back last September and even then the announcement data was planned for this February. In fact the product has been in beta sites since November and it should be generally available during the second quarter.
At the same time, the Platform makes a clearer distinction between SAS and DataFlux as to who sells what. Previously, infrastructure such as data integration software was marketed by SAS but this position was confusing since the sales force is primarily concerned with sales of analytic applications such as Customer Intelligence or, more broadly, the SAS platform as a BI/analytic suite. SAS sales people will still be selling data integration either when the data integration software is embedded within a solution such as Customer Intelligence or in conjunction with the SAS 9 platform as an enabling technology.
This move towards being a data quality/integration/master data stack provider is an increasingly common story in this space. However, integration between the different elements of this stack is a big issue. Some major vendors are so far away from a coherent story about integration that they do not really merit the description of a stack supplier, even if they have all of the relevant components. So the fact that DataFlux now has a genuinely integrated suite should give it a significant advantage over its competitors.
In so far as features are concerned some interesting capabilities include identity resolution, a business glossary, business process and event-driven integration, and a focus on business/IT collaboration. However, more detail will have to wait until nearer the general availability date.