Feeds

Sorting the ETL men from the boys

Diverging paths

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Comment The ETL (extract, transform and load) market, far from commoditising, is diverging. To begin with, ETL is no longer an appropriate term to use, both because operations are no longer limited to the order indicated but also because the technology encompasses far more than just moving data into a warehouse. However, I don't like the alternatives such as "data movement" and "data transfer" much, while "data integration" is too broad, so I guess we are stuck with ETL. However, this is by no means the only area of divergence.

Perhaps the most obvious change in the market is the growth in code generating products and there is now a clear split in the market between black box solutions and code generating approaches. While the former saw off the previous generation of code-based products a decade ago, it is by no means clear cut that they will do so again: SQL and Java are much more portable than the Cobol-based products of the early nineties.

Code-based approaches are also helped by the many ISVs that want the ability to embed specific ETL capabilities within their own products, and there are a number of newer ETL suppliers specifically targeting this market either directly or in a complementary fashion. For example, Baycastle focuses on doing things like moving data into contact management systems.

Another major change has been the advent of Open Source (Clover and Kinetic Networks' KETL) products and even shareware products (DB Software), which should help to drive user acceptance of the "don't hand code" message and which can only benefit everybody.

However, returning to the established players versus the new entrants discussion, the big advantage that the former have is that they provide lots of complementary functionality, notably with data quality, enterprise information and application integration and so on, though this is not limited to black-box solutions (witness Sunopsis).

Finally, the latest area of divergence is in the ability to support the extraction, transformation and loading of unstructured and semi-structured content. Of course, the concept of unstructured content is a nonsense – if it was really unstructured it would collapse into a heap – but, for the purposes of this discussion I mean Word and pdf documents and the like on the one hand (unstructured) and HIPAA, EDIFACT, SWIFT and similar documents (semi-structured on the other).

Of course, this is not entirely new: Ascential has had abilities in the area of semi-structured data ever since it bought Mercator (now DataStage TX), while Hummingbird has offered the ability to extract unstructured content for some time, largely because it is the only ETL vendor that is also a major content/document management provider. However, Informatica has now added this capability as generic functionality and other vendors are likely to follow suit.

If the ability to build applications that combine content and data is to be the major growth area that many suspect that it will be, then the ability to support ETL functions against content as opposed to data is likely to be a defining factor and will sort out the ETL men from the boys.

Copyright © 2005, IT-Analysis.com

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?