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Goodbye Sunopsis, Hello Coopetition: Oracle Unveils Oracle Data Integrator

Oracle this week announced its first rev of ODI, along with an updated version of the Oracle Secure Enterprise Search tool it announced a year ago.

It’s official: Oracle Data Integrator (ODI)—Oracle Corp.’s other data integration and ETL tool, acquired just months ago from the former Sunopsis—has arrived. Oracle this week announced its first rev of ODI, along with an updated version of the Oracle Secure Enterprise Search tool it announced nearly a year ago.

Oracle positions ODI as the data integration complements to its Project Fusion middleware initiative. In this respect, Oracle officials are careful to differentiate between ODI and the database giant’s veteran Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB), which—with last year’s mid-summer refresh—looks like a bona-fide enterprise ETL contender. Oracle has promised that OWB and ODI will eventually converge, but hasn’t yet said how or when this will happen.

"[W]e have a number of customers that use [OWB] to build out data warehouses that run in the [Oracle] database. Using Oracle Warehouse Builder, customers can pull information quite easily from an Oracle database and make it accessible in something like an interactive dashboard or ad hoc analysis," says Rick Schultz, vice-president of Fusion Middleware with Oracle. "[ODI] … is more for real-time [integration scenarios], which if you think about it is consistent with the hot-pluggable commitment we have [with Project Fusion]."

The idea, officials say, is that customers can tap ODI in tandem with Oracle’s revamped Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition to agglomerate and analyze data from Oracle’s universe of Project Fusion applications. In this regard, Sunopsis’ change-data-capture real-time capability and integrated business rules support were tailor-made for Project Fusion, officials indicate. Elsewhere, ODI boasts declarative design capabilities and ships with more than 100 "Knowledge Modules:" reusable libraries that incorporate source- and target-specific optimizations for major databases and applications.

"I never thought I’d see a press release from Oracle say nice things about non-Oracle database products, like Netezza and Teradata!" exclaimed Philip Russom, senior manager of research and services at TDWI. "This and other actions further corroborate Oracle’s commitment—long overdue, in my opinion—to open up its integration technologies to interoperate with the diverse non-Oracle application and database products that are inevitable in a company of any size. We see Oracle’s new openness in the Oracle Fusion Middleware product family, where the Sunopsis product now lives, while Oracle Warehouse Builder (an ETL tool in the Data Server family) continues its focus on mostly Oracle databases.""This is part of a big-vendor trend," continued Russom. "IBM set precedence with its burgeoning WebSphere product family, consisting of diverse and highly open integration products. Even SAP is following suit by opening up its hermetically sealed application environment through the increasingly open NetWeaver. In a lot of ways, Oracle Fusion is a NetWeaver knock-off—a service bus meant to correct a lack of interoperability among the vendor’s own applications, not just with external products—so it makes sense that it would also follow suit with a fairly open integration strategy. I think the relatively new openness of Fusion and NetWeaver is potentially beneficial to users of Oracle and SAP applications, who invariably struggle with integrating data across proprietary product boundaries."

Nor is ODI an unknown quantity: last month, Oracle published it to its Oracle Technology Network Web site, which gave Oracle pros—and, presumably, OWB junkies, too—a chance to play around with ODI before it "officially" went live.

Oracle watchers generally like what they see. "It looks good; certainly the bit where it separates the ETL process into business rules and implementation details is pretty good," comments Oracle consultant Mark Rittman, who says he’s most familiar with ODI’s Sunopsis-specific technology underpinnings. "The knowledge modules feature is also good. It makes it extensible and allows them to cater for non-Oracle platforms."

Rittman has questions, however, about how Oracle plans to reconcile its separate-and-not-entirely-equal ODI and OWB product lines. "[T]he big question is whether Oracle [will] maintain both OWB and Data Integrator, whether they merge the code bases, or whether they keep just one and take some of the best features of the other," he concludes. "Who outside Oracle knows? Certainly there’s a Statement of Direction on Data Integrator on OTN, but they don’t—yet—address the question as to how it will relate to OWB going into the future." And that, Rittman says, is the $64,000 question.

For the record, ODI lists for $12,000 per-database target CPU or for $4,000 per-database source CPU, Oracle officials confirm.

Oracle Search Reborn

Also this week, Oracle announced an improved version of its Oracle Secure Enterprise Search 10g, Release 10.1.8, that boasts support for additional third-party data sources, enhanced integration with Oracle Applications, support for third-party directory servers, and a federated search feature, too.

Oracle also announced a new "Oracle Secure Search Initiative" it hopes will spur the development of additional connectors for its Oracle Secure Enterprise Search tool. These connectors make it possible for Oracle Secure Enterprise Search 10g to query a variety of data sources, including BusinessObjects Universes, EMC Documentum Content Server DocBases, FileNet Content Engine object stores, IBM Lotus Notes databases, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, and Open Text’s Livelink ECM.

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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