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IBM tool to aid data integration

IBM dubbed it the IBM Information Server Blade. It is a marriage of IBM's Blade Server technology and data management software in a bid to offer customers a heterogeneous data integration platform and aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of managing and integrating enterprise data across silos of information.

IBM unveiled the product Aug. 6 at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

"How many times have you called your financial institution…and the (operator is asking you) things you think they should know about you, but they don't know anything about you?" Robert Vrablik, Information Server Blade Marketing Manager, asked rhetorically.

"That's because they've got these siloed application limitations and every data representation behind that, nothing communicates with each other. Herein lies the huge information integration glut."

IBM's answer? The IBM BladeCenter HS21 servers with Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors running Red Hat Linux. On top of it all sits IBM's Information Server software, which can be used to profile, manage and clean data. The software is designed to handle multiple relational database technology systems, such as IBM, Oracle, and the SQL Server.

"JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, from other Oracle applications—we have all of these connecting technologies that allow us to interlock with all of those exposed API functions or open standards-based implementations of these data sources to read this data in, process it and write it back as appropriate it with all of these (user-created) rules applied," Vrablik said.

The product uses Tivoli Workload Manager to allow workloads to be managed across blades within grid clusters, and new blades can be added to increase processing power as the user's requirements grow, company officials said.

"A large volume of IBM's install base for Information Server are organizations that are investing heavily in an IBM 'footprint' of both hardware and software," Forrester Research analyst Rob Karel said. "This cross-sell opportunity allows IBM to provide incentive for customers and prospects to combine these purchase decisions by reducing complexity in the procurement process and fast tracking implementation."

Though Karel noted Oracle and Microsoft offer data integration software, he said the similarities between what those companies offer and this product end there.

"IBM's other primary competitors in the data integration space are Informatica and Ab Initio [Software] at the extreme scalability level, with Business Objects and SAS also making relevant strides," he said. "All of these competitors are software-focused companies with no hardware platform bias or agenda."

The company is targeting Oct. 10 as the date the product will be generally availability. In addition, the company announced the IBM BladeCenter Flexible Choice offering, which allows customers to lease a BladeCenter chassis for up to 60 months, and individual blades for 24 to 36 months.

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