Analyst Coverage: Philip Howard
X88 is a relatively young company, based in the UK, but the team has a significant pedigree in data management and, in particular, data profiling and discovery; the company’s founder, Tony Rodriguez, created data profiling pioneer Avellino Discovery, a tool that was subsequently acquired and evolved to become TS (Trillium Software) Discovery.
Last Updated: 28th February 2014
Pandora is one of the leading technical products in the market with proven performance, functionality and scalability. Pandora relies on JDBC interfaces for most sources, and native adapters for XLS and delimited files, however it does not provide support for non-relational databases (including NoSQL sources). Although Pandora has been designed for non-technical users, the company does not yet offer any user-specific reporting interfaces (you can tailor them to your own purposes easily enough, but it is not out of the box). In its next release X88 will be adding significantly enhanced graphics and visualisations followed by web-enabled custom dashboards, and we expect that its rating for business use will increase significantly as a result.
X88 focuses on large and medium-sized enterprises, regardless of industry. The company has a direct presence in the UK and the United States, and otherwise leverages its various partners. Notable partners include Logica, Atos Origin and Innovative Software (in the United States).
X88 has a number of government implementations in the UK and France as well as customers such as Vodafone, WPP, Prudential, Deutsche Bank, Bupa, Volvo, Speedy Hire, Sonic Automotive, Experian and Ageas.
Pandora is a Java software product that runs under Windows (client and server), Linux (Red Hat and SUSE) as well as Solaris, AIX and HP-UX. Other Java compliant platforms are available upon request. The product supports JDBC for database connectivity as well as offering support for both flat files and Microsoft Excel. Pandora is available in three editions: Pandora Data Profiling & Discovery Edition, Data Prototyping Edition and Data Quality Management Edition, each of which is a subset of the edition that follows it. There is also a free-to-download Pandora Data Profiler that has restricted capabilities.
Pandora is underpinned by a proprietary correlation database. This stores data based on unique values (each value is stored just once) rather than tables or columns. This means that Pandora uses less disk space than traditional approaches to profiling and discovery, as well as enabling unique functionality and improving performance. As an indication of the latter, Pandora supports as many as two billion records on-screen with full browsing and filtering capabilities. Another advantage that derives from having its own database is that there is no need to embed a third party database engine within it, so there are no bugs, compatibility, administration or performance issues related to that. As far as functionality is concerned, Pandora can distinguish all (sub)types of data and one particularly interesting feature is the ability to assign monetary weightings during ongoing monitoring. This is useful for justifying and prioritising remediation.
Another major feature of Pandora is that it supports prototyping of the sort of business rules that are used within a data quality context or transformation rules within a data integration environment. In the latter case the product supports the generation of ETL (extract, transform and load) specifications and can be used as a standalone solution for data migration. More generally, Pandora supports global search, full relationship discovery and extensive profiling capabilities. It is also very flexible with respect to both data and metadata and supports customisations such as the construction of a business glossary. Pandora lacks support for external authentication mechanisms such as Active Directory or LDAP, using its own role-base security instead.
Pandora is intended to be simple enough to use that users do not require much in the way of support after initial training, which is provided by X88. Consultancy services are also available but these tend to be limited to mentoring and enablement during the early stages of projects. For more long-term project support the company relies on its delivery partners.