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Content Copyright © 2009 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.
Also posted on: The IM Blog

Data integration tools are a dime a dozen and there are more open source data integration tools that you can shake a fist at. In part, this is because there remains a large untapped market potential for data integration, with lots of companies still insisting that they can do it better and more effectively by hand coding (they can’t).

SnapLogic is an open source data integration vendor founded in 2006 by Gaurav Dhillon, the erstwhile co-founder and CEO of Informatica, so he knows a thing or two about both start-ups and data integration. What’s different about SnapLogic is its focus on web-based sources of data, so that it will support integration not only with SaaS providers but also rich web content and even things like Twitter and YouTube plus, of course, conventional sources like Oracle and MySQL.

However, it’s not really SnapLogic as a data integration vendor that I want to talk about. While the company will claim technical and cost advantages, and it is doing something a bit different in so far as data integration is concerned, with its emphasis on web sources of data, what is very different is SnapStore, which was launched last month and will go into beta in February next year.

The basic idea behind SnapStore is that there are far too many data sources for any one data integration vendor to provide a connector for every such source and when you start to consider combinations of sources with targets then that number increases exponentially. Of course, the major vendors cover the leading databases, ERP systems and so forth but there are lots of obscure and not so obscure environments that they probably don’t, even at the connector level. For example, when did you last hear a vendor talking about its Revelation database connector? Or, to take something more well known: its Sage connector? or its Zoho CRM connector?

The idea behind SnapStore is that you provide facilities for creating snaps, where a snap is anything from a simple connector to a complete dataflow that integrates (say) a SalesForce quote with a NetSuite order. Then you encourage developers to create such connectors, not just for their own purposes (which they need to do anyway) but also to share those connectors within the SnapStore. However, this isn’t just an open source junky type of sharing. Connectors are tested and certified before being placed in the SnapStore and developers are credited with 70% of the revenues accruing from any subsequent licensing of those connectors.

It is early days of course but one can see that this might really drive the development of snaps. And if it does then SnapLogic will become better and better placed as it builds up a larger and larger library of snaps. After all, why reinvent the wheel when SnapLogic can already provide it?