Software AG Wraps Semantic Web into Information Integration

Enterprise Information Integrator 2.1, a building block for a service-oriented architecture, uses the Semantic Web to deliver a data view that wraps together information from disparate repositories.

Software AG on Wednesday announced an update to its Enterprise Information Integrator tool that it claims makes it the first globally available product to use Semantic Web technology.

The Semantic Web is a new Web paradigm that provides a common framework for data to be shared and reused across applications, enterprises and community boundaries. Its founded on XML-based integration of applications as well as URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) for naming.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read Web founding father Tim Berners-Lees take on the Semantic Web and how it will revolutionize our current Internet experience.

Smaller companies have been on the forefront of incorporating the Semantic Web, marketing so-called "inference engines" that can be used for information integration.

One is a German company called Ontoprise. Another, Network Inference Inc., recently moved to the United States from England.

Software AGs EII 2.1 is designed to dynamically combine both meaning and context of business data with the rules that govern its use, thereby providing businesses with the ability to make faster decisions based on real-time information availability. EII creates real-time views of business data thats often distributed across disparate systems. The views reflect real-time changes to data, including its context, meaning and usage rules.

The upgrade includes enhancements such as support for W3C Semantic Web standards, including OWL (Web Ontology Language) and RDF (Resource Description Framework); a new Eclipse-based graphical design studio, for easier creation of information models and dynamic views; and expanded security capabilities that authenticate against standard security systems, including those used by mainframes.

John Taylor, senior director of business integration for Software AG, said EII 2.1 departs from the traditional technical approach to data integration, which is to try to map to business users view of information—a "very brittle solution," he said, that requires developers to implement and maintain it. In contrast, EII 2.1 allows business analysts to create a model of the views of information that users actually see, including the varying views of end-user communities within an enterprise.

"We believe this approach allows us to capture business logic and business rules," said Taylor, in Reston, Va. "We can capture that information [in the data model itself] … not just a description of the data model."

/zimages/1/28571.gifIBM is pursuing a similar path to Software AG, tying its database content management technology more closely to records management and extended Web services functionality to help customers integrate multiple forms of data across diverse repositories. Read more here.

As it is, contradictory views of information are typically stored in various systems: one to capture information about the customer, one to say that the customer owns xyz product, and one to store that customers order information, for example.

EII 2.1 can capture the relationships between those separate silos of information, Taylor said, along with any business rules that govern the relationships according to, for example, sequence of events, or whatever other presentation is relevant to deliver one, coherent view of the customer.

EII 2.1 is part of Software AGs XML Business Integration portfolio and currently runs on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Sun Solaris.

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