Interesting moves in data integration

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Content Copyright © 2006 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

A couple of interesting announcements have been made within the integration space lately. The first is that Sunopsis and Trillium have formed a partnership. This is probably not surprising. With the recent acquisition of data quality vendors by both Informatica and Business Objects, Sunopsis needed a more robust data quality offering and it has done so by partnering with the leading quasi-pure player on the market. This also works for Trillium in that its major competitors are now owned by other companies so it too, needed a partnership with a leading data integration supplier.

Incidentally, as an aside for those that think of Trillium as a product you should only look at if you want to put a lab coat on—look again—the latest release is much more user friendly than was previously the case.

The second interesting announcement that I want to discuss was much less predictable. In fact, I defy anyone without insider knowledge to have predicted it: Sybase has acquired Solonde.

First, I’d better tell you what Solonde is. The company’s flagship product (TransformOnDemand) started as a research project at the University of Hamburg and is an ETL (data integration) tool designed from the ground up to run on a grid architecture. It is also particularly easy to deploy and use. The company also offers specific SAP integration capabilities through ExtractOnDemand. Three good reasons (apart from some blue chip clients) why the company might be an acquisition target. But why Sybase?

Let me step back a bit. Apart from its mobile offerings (the iAnywhere products) and development tools (PowerBuilder et al), what are Sybase’s major products? It has two databases, ASE in the OLTP market and IQ for data warehousing. Then it has a stand-alone replication product, which supports heterogeneous replication within a variety of environments. All of these it has had for some years. Then, a while ago now, it acquired Avaki, which is an EII (enterprise information integration) tool. So, now it has replication, federation and ETL all under one roof. That looks like a data integration platform to me.

Moreover, if Sybase is building a data integration platform is it just doing so to augment its data warehouse? I wouldn’t think so. But does it then think that it can compete with the likes of Informatica, IBM, Sunopsis et al in the general purpose market. Possibly, but that would have to be a long shot. More likely, it has an eye on a bigger prize in an emerging market. And that market? MDM (master data management).

Now, I don’t know whether Sybase will build or buy MDM but I am guessing that it will do one or the other, with Avaki supporting a registry/repository style federated approach and Solonde being leveraged for a hub-based solution to be stored, of course, in Sybase IQ. Doesn’t that make sense? The company may or may not acquire a data quality vendor en route, or it may just partner but I think MDM must be the goal it is looking at.