The latest version of the information integrator, formerly code-named Masala, will make it "dramatically easier to access information of all different kinds, whether it is in e-mail repositories, or in databases or image libraries," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for IBMs DB2 Universal Database.
"Customers are increasingly telling us that they are deluged with information and are faced with the task of uniting more and more distinct types of information to answer questions" relating to customers, products, services and how their business runs, Jones said.
The information integrator is able to do this because it can search rapidly across multiple databases, including relational and nonrelational databases and structured and unstructured data such as text files, word documents, Adobe Acrobat files, video or audio files, according to Jones.
"To gather this information up today, they might have to use multiple searches," Jones said. DB2 Information Integrator can replace all of these searches with a single search that gathers all of the types of information to answer a single question, he said.
IBM also claims that this search technology is far more advanced than Web search engines such as Google because it can search across so many data types, he said.
Corporate intranets are well-known to be "among some of the messiest and most complicated repositories of information on the planet," Jones said. So, IBM tested the engine on its own corporate intranet.
The DB2 Information Integrator is "part of a larger commitment on IBMs part" to find effective new ways to search and manage unstructured as well as structured data, said Philip Russom, principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.
DB2 Information Integrator is "one piece of evidence that IBM is addressing the problem" of searching both structured and unstructured data, Russom said. Another piece was IBMs acquisition in August of Venetica Corp., a Charlotte, N.C.-based maker of content integration software, he said.
The Venetica technology can help companies solve the problem of having corporate information in a variety of content management systems, Russom said. Many enterprises tend to have different content management systems running in different department and corporate divisions, but they have no centralized way of viewing or integrating the information and documents stored in those systems.
IBM has indicated that it intends to combine the Venetica technology with the DB2 Information Integrator to further extend its ability to search and retrieve information from multiple content management systems.
"I think IBM is responding to a market need to relieve one of the pain points" of their corporate customers, and that is to find a way to make it easier to access information stored in a variety of incompatible information silos, Russom said.
The problem is that different information integration technologies can end up in isolated silos that are just as inaccessible as the diverse information management and content management data formats, he said.
The answer, Russom said, is to get the integration technologies to interoperate with each other. As a result, he said he expects that IBM will continue working to provide closer interoperability between its two key middleware brand names, the DB2 Information Integrator and WebSphere MQ.
Jones said IBM is not planning to market the integrator as a standalone Web search engine. Rather, it will be marketing a technology that enterprises can integrate into their corporate intranets or that independent software vendors can integrate into their information management applications.
The DB2 Information Integrator is available from IBM now and is reselling with prices starting at $5,000 per processor and $15,000 per data resource connector.