CA Rolls Out Data Transformation Tool

Graphical ETL

Enabling enterprises to better share data between sources, Computer Associates International, Inc. introduced an update to two of its enterprise integration tools Tuesday.

CA dropped the 2.0 versions of both extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) tools Advantage Data Transformer and Advantage Data Transformer Enterprise Metadata Edition (EME). The new versions have new graphical workflow manager, wizards, and debuggers to smooth data transformation tasks.

Each tool gives enterprises the ability to take data out of one database and reformat it for another database. This capability allows data to be shared between different applications. For example, an ERP application can suck data out of an inventory database using the tool, keeping applications across the enterprise up-to-date with the freshest information.

Original versions of the products used a proprietary scripting language to model ETL tasks. The scripting language resembles Visual Basic with prefab components for routine ETL calls. The software has hooks for a number of different databases and application, including DB2 and Oracle.

The latest release offers administrators three different ways of setting ETL rules. First, the software offers wizards to setting up common data transforms. CA provides common data transformations in the wizards, reducing the amount of time administrators spend setting up rules.

CA also developed a graphical workflow manager that allows administrators to drag-and-drop transformation tasks into the routine. The manager can also identify and define dependencies between applications to ensure data is compatible. Calls to other applications can also be set through the interface. For example, administrators can use it to trigger a backup after sharing data.

Finally, administrators can edit the scripting language themselves for a greater degree of control.

Advantage Data Transformer works in a batch mode, updating data on event cycles. It can be set to refresh data based on clock time, or when transactional events occur, such as a change in an application. Bentley Barbour, product manager at CA says event handling allows the application to reach near-real-time updates. “We get down to pretty small latencies,” she says.

Advantage Data Transformer Enterprise Metadata Edition integrates with CA’s Advantage Repository for Distributed Systems. The repository creates a database of metadata that gives administrators a view of data across the enterprise. It shows what application generated what data and where it has been refreshed. CA also offers Advantage Repository as a standalone product.

Although the products use traditional formats for exchanging data between applications, Allen Houpt, brand manager, marketing at CA, says the company is considering moving to an XML-based data format with upcoming releases. “The XML [technology] is a top priority for us in the next release,” he says.

About the Author

Chris McConnell is Product and Technology Editor for Enterprise Systems.