The release marks the first component to spring from the currently in beta "Project Hawk" technology absorbed by Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM as part of its Ascential Software Corp. purchase this year.
To help customers reduce the complex rigors of integration optimization, IBM WebSphere DataStage TX v.8 features improved developer productivity capabilities, said Jonathan Arneault, director of Product Management for IBM WebSphere DataStage TX.
It also features expansion for EDI (electronic data interchange) processing on the mainframe, and the ability to identify, flag and correct data transformation errors the moment they occur without restarting or recompiling, he said.
Capable of running as a stand-alone product or as an add-on to the WebSphere Data Integration suite, DataStage TX handles complex and semi-structured data (XML and non-XML) from any source and converts the information into the appropriate format based upon application development requirements.
New enhancements to the product more tightly align data with ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) integration processes and allow the tool to act as a mechanism for simplified data management, business intelligence or regulatory compliance demands.
New WebSphere DataStage TX Industry Packs include WebSphere DataStage TX Pack for HIPAA EDI; WebSphere DataStage TX Packs for EDI; WebSphere DataStage TX Packs for enterprise applications; and WebSphere DataStage TX Pack for SWIFT.
Making the technology faster and easier to implement —particularly in the codeless environment DataStage TX represents—was a priority for IBM as it re-launched the upgraded product under its WebSphere umbrella.
"A lot of customers have asked us to see whats going on as theyre designing, so we have created a visual debugger that allows them to manage and view the process," Arneault said.
"Weve added a number of new optimization wizards and profilers to help users optimize the way they run their environment. Before they had to be product specialists and product experts, now theyre [using] automated features."
According to IBM, WebSphere DataState TX v.8 provides up to a 50 percent increase in developer productivity and up to a 90 percent increase in speed during XML schema integration over previous Ascential DataStage TX versions.
Doug Smith, director of Business Process Modeling & Integration for Albany, N.Y.-based CommerceHub Insurance Inc., is running a beta version of DataStage TX v.8 in his Microsoft Windows 2000 server environment. He said the growing complexity of data integration across distributed systems is emphasizing the need for more capable management tools within IT environments.
"Many of the opportunities for gaining efficiencies via automation of intra-enterprise processes have been tapped. The next steps involve the integration of disparate systems across organizational boundaries," Smith said. "These efforts [lead to] more powerful tools, infrastructure, and modeling strategies to manage the more complex metadata and semantic challenges that arise in those efforts."
"We feel that DataStage TX is an important part of our strategy for meeting that challenge," he said.
Developing Project Hawk further, new versions of WebSphere DataStage and WebSphere QualityStage will be generally available at the IBM Information Integration Live Conference in mid-November. The customer event was formerly called Ascential World.