Business Objects S.A. this week will begin shipping Data Integrator 6.0, the first full release of the Actaworks technology the company acquired from Acta Technology Inc. in July.
In Data Integrator 6.0, Business Objects is trumpeting a tight integration of the data integration technology with its own business intelligence platform through Universal Metadata Bridge technology. This will allow any changes made to a back-end database or operational system to be passed automatically to the Business Objects dashboard without requiring an enterprise application integration middle layer, according to company officials, in San Jose, Calif.
Peter Siegel, principal of St. Louis-based systems integrator Sense Corp., has been testing Data Integrator and using it at customer sites. Siegel said he was impressed with how Data Integrator can share metadata with the Business Objects semantic layer, known as universes, and outside data modeling tools.
"You dont have to start from scratch in building a Business Objects universe; you can generate it directly from the [extraction, transformation and loading] of data," Siegel said. "Its not a silver bullet, but it will get people to the first iteration [of a BI environment] pretty quickly."
Other features in Data Integrator include support for SNMP to allow for integration with third-party job schedulers, enhanced native support of relational database and XML Schemas, and complex workflow processing that allows for complicated data structures. Version 6.0 also combines support for Web services standards such as XML, Simple Object Access Protocol and Web Services Description Language.
Performance has also been enhanced to deliver automatic workload distribution, load balancing and SQL task assignment. There are also improvements in administrative functions such as managing multiple job servers, creating new data flows and designing transformations.
Siegel noted that this version can also be administered via the Web, which he said is a huge advantage.
Data Integrator was first released by Business Objects last August as Version 5.5. But that release was little more than a re-branding of Actas Actaworks 5.2, officials said. Version 6.0 is the first to truly unite the companies technologies.
Siegel, whose company uses a number of data integration technologies, including offerings from Ascential Corp., Informatica Corp. and Cognos Inc., said Acta has always had some advantages.
"I still believe their integration with SAP [AG software] is superior to other products," Siegel said. "And even with other [enterprise software] systems, they have more available options."