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Integration Super Server to the Rescue

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Oct 17, 2006


IBM Monday unveiled software designed to help customers integrate applications. The all-in-one Information Server will come with the company's WebSphere application server and DB2 database.

It's a data profiler, it's a quality assurance tool, it's ... Integration Super Server. IBM Monday unveiled software to ease customers' application integration pain points.

Tom Inman, vice president of information management at IBM, announced the product at the company's first Information on Demand Global Conference in Anaheim, Calif. Monday.

Combining technologies from IBM's Ascential, Venetica, Unicorn and CrossAccess acquisitions, Information Server profiles data, cleanses data to ensure quality, and transforms that data to meet a particular service request, Inman said on a conference call.

The software is meant to help companies extract more value from the different data sources housed in corporate datacenters, a salve for organizations that can't tap into accurate and complete information about their business they can really trust.

"One of the challenges with delivering information-on-demand is where this information sits," Inman said.

"If you're a retail bank, you want to know who your customers are, but that's difficult because customer information is scattered throughout."

For example, a manufacturer might use Information Server to pair sales figures from subsidiaries, retail outlets and trading partners along with real-time inventory data and merge customer data from those entities for better business results.

IBM Information Server will be available worldwide through IBM and its partners in November, with professional services support.

IBM said it also plans to offer a blade server option based on Information Server next year to help companies build a scalable information grid.

The software forms the foundation of IBM's Information on Demand plan, a strategy IBM Executive Vice President of Software Steve Mills said last February that Big Blue would pump $1 billion over the next five years in a market IBM expects to top $69 billion by 2009.

Data integration is an old battleground, where companies used to dangle solutions extraction transformation and loading technologies in front of large customers in the hopes of further infiltrating their data centers for new revenue sources.

But the rapid expansion of the Web and the propulsion of Web services has forced IBM and other software makers to augment their integration pitches; now the big lure is offering integration based on new-fangled information-on-demand models.

With Information Server, IBM believes it is paving the road for rivals such as Oracle, as much as it is lighting it for prospective customers.

With its wealth of database and business intelligence software, and a renewed interest in managing disparate types of software, Oracle is positioned to be IBM's greatest rival in this space.

But it is playing catch-up; just last week, Oracle purchased small data integration player Sunopsis.

Ambuj Goyal, general manager of IBM information management, dismissed the move on the call. He noted that Oracle is behind IBM by 18 months because IBM grabbed market leader Ascential Software, which serves as the centerpiece for its information management server.

Yet Goyal said IBM welcomes the competition. "You can't lead unless you have followers," he said on the call.

At the event, the systems vendor also announced its threat and fraud intelligence strategy, with two software and services solution bundles, the IBM Threat & Fraud Intelligence starter pack, and IBM Threat & Fraud Intelligence Law Enforcement solution.

Forged in IBM's entity analytics unit, the products are geared to help government agencies and businesses verify the origin, cultural variation and meaning of names by comparing and analyzing factors commonly associated with nearly 1 billion names from around the world.

Information Server starts at $100,000 for an entry-level configuration.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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