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Also posted on: The IM Blog
Attunity Gold Client Solutions are based on technology that the company gained when it acquired Hayes Technology Group. The principal capability that Gold Client provides is database subsetting for SAP environments, including SAP HANA for which it was just certified in March. In other words, the product is in the test data management (TDM) space.
There are a number of significant differences between Gold Client and other TDM products. The first is that it specifically works with SAP applications: most (but not all) of its competitors are database but not application specific. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Gold Client works by logically identifying business entities or transactions so that when you subset the data, it is guaranteed to be referentially intact. Most other products simply time slice the data. More than that, if you have technology that works at the business entity level, then you have the makings of a product that will support data migration or archival and, indeed, Attunity plans to develop Gold Client so that it will support users that want to archive off SAP and into other environments.
That’s the good news. There are also some things that Gold Client doesn’t do. There are no synthetic generation capabilities, which a lot of the vendors are now adding and, while it does have facilities for scrambling data, I don’t think these capabilities are as advanced as some of those companies that specialise in data masking: certainly there is no mention of things like consistent, federated, deterministic or cascading masking on the company’s website.
Interestingly, Attunity has identified a number of use cases for Gold Client that go beyond the confines of testing, development, Q&A and demonstration systems, which is what most people talk about when they are discussing TDM. One of these is for divestitures and you can see that this would be a sensible approach. Another is working on Proofs of Concept, specifically for SAP HANA. This assumes an existing SAP environment and you can then use Gold Client to take a domain-specific subset of the data, install it on HANA and then run the PoC. As you can imagine SAP likes this a lot, although I expect that it represents only a short-term opportunity for Attunity. On the other hand, I can see this being extended—whether by Attunity or its competitors—to other environments, given how popular PoCs are with many vendors and users.
Right now, Gold Client is limited to SAP environments and it clearly has advantages over anything that SAP itself can offer. It also has the goodwill of SAP. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have competition. For instance, Grid-Tools, working in conjunction with Silwood’s Safyr (the companies are partners), should be able to offer similar business-entity level extraction while there are suppliers (Camouflage, for example) that have application templates for Oracle environments that might choose to move into the SAP space in the future. I therefore think that, while there are some significant advantages to Gold Client, Attunity needs to bolster the product’s data masking capabilities in particular.