The bus anomaly in Test Data Management
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You all know the story: you wait for ages for a bus and then a whole string of them turn up all together. What’s this got to do with IT? Well, for ages Grid-Tools has been the only company offering synthetic test data management in the test data management space. Then, as I reported recently, I discovered that GenRocket had entered this space, and now, just a few weeks later Informatica has announced support for synthetic data (to be generally available mid-March). In due course, though perhaps not in the short term, I expect IBM to follow suit.
Of course, Informatica’s announcement is not just about synthetic data: there are a number of important new features with respect to both test data management and data masking. In the case of the former, the company is announcing test data management as a service offering as well as integration with the company’s business glossary. As far as the latter is concerned, the company’s dynamic data masking will now work in conjunction with stored procedures. Oddly, however, the first two databases to be supported are SQL Server and Informix. No doubt the latter was the result of an urgent customer request. We would expect other databases to be supported in due course.
The second major new feature for masking is masking rule simulation. This does pretty much what you would expect it to do from its name. What’s interesting is that, as far as I know, nobody else is offering such a capability.
Going back to test data management and the synthetic capability just launched, there are a couple of points to make. The first is that Informatica is a leading providing of data profiling tools and you would think that it would have an advantage over both Grid-Tools and GenRocket in this respect. This will definitely be the case with respect to GenRocket where you have to do this manually. On the other hand, Informatica is not offering any equivalent of Grid-Tools’ test data warehouse at this time, so this will remain a significant advantage for Grid-Tools until this appears, which is scheduled for Q3 this year.
Grid-Tools and GenRocket, however, are relatively small vendors (very small in the case of GenRocket) whereas Informatica has a much bigger presence in the market. Its main competitor is IBM and this announcement will give Informatica a significant advantage compared to that rival.