IBM Has Work to

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-05-11 Print this article Print

Do"> Philip Howard, an analyst at Bloor Research, in Northamptonshire, England, agreed in an e-mail interview that IBM "certainly has a lot of work to do" on integration, but the acquisition of Ascential still makes sense. Besides, these are issues that are industry-wide and beyond IBM, he said. "There is a real metadata issue, but that is an industry issue rather than anything that is IBM-specific," he said. "As I understand it, metadata integration is a major focus of the Hawk release," he said. "Historically, the Ascential software has essentially consisted of a group of separate products that connected via metabrokers. What the company is moving towards is a common repository that all products run from. As I havent had a detailed briefing on Hawk yet, I do not know whether this applies to all parts of the Ascential Suite or whether some will have to wait until the next release [Rhapsody].
"As far as WebSphere Information Integrator is concerned, metadata is all about defining virtual views or schemas so there isnt a back-end integration issue, unless you want to integrate the WII and Ascential environments into a single platform, but for the time being I think they should really be seen as separate products—though this raises its own issues—both products have their own transformation engines, for example (actually, Ascential has multiple transformation engines of own—I dont know if Hawk will change this) so it would make sense to have a single platform with a single transformation engine, but this is clearly longer term."
Indeed, further work on completing the technology Ascential acquired from Mercator—DataStage TX—is crucial, according to a research note written by Gartner Inc.s Mark Beyer. "IBMs commitment to Ascentials road map is critical," he wrote. "Ascential previews of the future release of QualityStage boast a new interface and an improved architecture (driven by a unified, centrally managed, active metadata repository), which was intended to be the future architecture of the entire Ascential product line. Further work on completing the DataStage TX … integration must be completed." QualityStage is a framework for developing and deploying data investigation, standardization, enrichment, probabilistic matching and survivorship operations, for use in transactional, operational or analytic applications, in batch and real time, to facilitate data validation, cleansing or master data entity consolidation for customers, locations and products. The Ascential roadmap, unfortunately, will take longer to deliver "than IBM currently anticipates" without a shift in resources, Beyer said. The upshot? When it comes to IBM in particular, dont look for it before 2006, and dont look for it without a blood transfusion, he said. "This could be rectified by applying more R&D funding." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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