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Data migration is usually considered to be a homogeneous market. It isn’t. There are, in fact, two major types of data migration: migration from one database to another and migration from one application to another. In this article I want to concentrate on the latter, because it is estimated that there are 8,000 SAP migrations going on at any one time, and it is similarly estimated that SAP has 20% of the total application market, which in turn means that there are 40,000 application migrations going on all the time: that’s a big market and Informatica seems to be the only company that is paying serious attention to it. The question is why?
The fact is that most of the leading data integration tools are owned by third party vendors and each of these suppliers has a different agenda to pure play data integration companies. Thus SAS and Business Objects are much more focused on business intelligence than on data integration per se, while IBM is focusing a lot of attention on MDM and data governance, for example. Sybase is likely to have the same emphasis (though you could not call it a leading vendor in this market, at least not yet) and, to a certain extent the same is true of both Business Objects and SAS as well.
There are also a number of vendors that have products specifically targeted at database migration and/or loading their own data warehouses, namely Oracle and Microsoft. For environments outside of these, Embarcadero also specialises in database migration because its background is completely in the data management space.
Who is left as a significant pure player in the data integration market? Well, there are lots of smaller vendors that are typically geographically isolated or focused on niche markets. Then there is Ab Initio, but its price point means that it is limited to the very top end of the market.
This leaves two major companies that might have opted to focus significantly on the application migration market; Sunopsis and Informatica but, in practice, this does not appear to be a major emphasis for Sunopsis.
As a result, and largely by default, Informatica is the leader in the application migration space, though I should say that all the major vendors can justifiably claim that they operate in this area: it’s just that it is not (or does not appear to be) a priority for them. Informatica, on the other hand, has recognised application migration as a major market and has prioritised it. As a result, the company has been able to gain experience, knowledge, best practice and so forth which leaves it in good stead when it comes to the next engagement: a virtuous circle, in fact.