IBM Has Work to
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].Indeed, further work on completing the technology Ascential acquired from MercatorDataStage TXis 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.
"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 productsthough this raises its own issuesboth products have their own transformation engines, for example (actually, Ascential has multiple transformation engines of ownI 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."