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Sybase, Informatica Partnership Targets Mainframe Data

With as much as 75 percent of corporate data still sitting on the mainframe, Big Iron is a platform few BI vendors can afford to ignore

The vast majority of business intelligence offerings are designed to run on so-called “open systems” such as Unix and, increasingly, Linux platforms. Nevertheless, most business intelligence vendors must also reckon with mainframe systems, at least as a source of mission-critical operational data.

With this in mind, Sybase Inc. notched a deal last month with data-integration powerhouse Informatica Corp. to develop and market a mainframe-data-offloading solution based on its IQ analytic platform and Informatica's PowerCenter and PowerExchange products.

The two companies plan to pitch the new offering, dubbed the Informatica and Sybase mainframe Dynamic Operational Data Store (Dynamic ODS)—to enterprise customers who want to reduce the cost of accessing mission-critical information from mainframe systems. Estimates vary, but analysts say that anywhere between 50 to 75 percent of business-critical information still resides on mainframe VSAM, IMS, or DB2 data stores.

Sybase and Informatica position Dynamic ODS as a low-risk approach that lets users access data in real-time directly from mainframe OLTP systems. Because the Dynamic ODS bypasses the mainframe as a source of operational reporting, the two companies claim it also decreases mainframe operational costs—expensive mainframe compute capacity can be repurposed to support other business-critical operations, instead of reporting—allowing customers to realize staffing- and process-efficiency gains.

More important, because the Dynamic ODS is able to offload mainframe data in real time, customers can tune the "freshness" of data to suit their business needs, officials argue. "Our customers have asked for solutions that help them affordably streamline their processes from traditional mainframe computers, without interrupting business-critical operations," said Charlie Doucot, vice president of sales with Sybase, in a statement. "With Informatica PowerCenter, Power Exchange and Sybase IQ's unique small footprint, we are offering customers and value added resellers a reliable, low-risk data-offloading solution with state-of-the-art business analytic capabilities and a rapid ROI."

In tandem with the announcement, the two companies touted a customer example—the State of Utah Division of Financial Services—that claims to have saved more than $5 million in development costs thanks to the Dynamic ODS. "The old system generated over 900 hard-copy reports each month. The new system generates less than 90. This alone has saved the state more than $5 million in development costs,” said Brent Sanderson, an IT manager with that organization, in a prepared release. “As we store more data in the Sybase operational data store, we use the mainframe less and less. This has led to the state saving $100,000 per month in mainframe disk storage costs alone."

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a technology writer with 20 years of experience. His writing has focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics for almost 15 years. Swoyer has an abiding interest in tech, but he’s particularly intrigued by the thorny people and process problems technology vendors never, ever want to talk about. You can contact him at [email protected].

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