PowerCenter Update Zeus Delivers Control

Informatica's upgraded management software offers simplified Web services and data integration for the enterprise.

Informatica Corp. this week will introduce its PowerCenter 8 upgrade, code-named Zeus, designed to help IT managers increase productivity through optimization and better federation.

PowerCenter 8 implements simplified data accessibility and delivery capabilities at the enterprise level, which, in turn, will simplify management and ease time-consuming coding responsibilities, said Sohaib Abbasi, president and CEO of Informatica, based in Redwood City, Calif.

"Organizations have automated a lot of transactional systems. The single biggest consideration of IT customers is how ... they best leverage all the data theyve collected.

"Whether stored in mainframe file systems or modern databases or [data] that happens to be unstructured, such as Microsoft Office files or in PDF formats ... [customers] want visibility and control over their data," Abbasi said.

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PowerCenter 8 improves native functionality for options that previously were add-ons for PowerCenter, including data federation, which can move physical data without application rewrites; access to unstructured data in PDFs, e-mail and spreadsheets; and an enhanced data quality feature.

The platform provides an SOA (service-oriented architecture) framework as well, buoyed by new features such as Enterprise Grid, which automatically determines where to spread processing resources, and Java Transformation support.

Mark Cothron, data warehouse architect for Ace Hardware Corp. in Oak Brook, Ill., uses PowerCenter as the companys main communication tool on its e-commerce Web site. The software provides real-time maintenance of Ace Hardwares inventory for its new point-of-sale system.

Testing an early version of PowerCenter 8, Cothron said the "push-down optimization" capability, in particular, helps boost efficiency by allowing him to eliminate multiple hops back and forth among the mainframe, servers and databases to push business logic.

As Ace Hardwares business expands beyond its own network, Cothron said the ability to control and capitalize on tight data integration will be crucial.

"We all have unique needs for getting at data, and I think the boundaries are changing," Cothron said. "As IT time gets restricted over the years, [companies] business areas are developing their own kinds of applications. Once its time to integrate that into the system so everyone has access to it, you need more [ways] to access different types of data.

"We talk about going to outside sources, but we just havent taken that leap yet," Cothron said. "But its just a matter of time."

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