CA Rolls Out Data Transformation Tool

CA updates two of its enterprise integration tools.

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

CA announced the 2.0 versions of Advantage Data Transformer and Advantage Data Transformer Enterprise Metadata Edition (EME). The products have new graphical workflow managers, 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 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 extraction, transformation and load (ETL) tasks. The scripting language resembled Visual Basic with prefab components for routine ETL calls. The software had hooks for a number of different databases and applications, including DB2 and Oracle.

The latest release offers administrators three different ways of setting ETL rules. First, the software offers wizards for setting up common data transforms, 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 applicat00ions can also be set through the interface.

Finally, administrators can edit the scripting language themselves for greater 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. Bentley Barbour, product manager at CA, says event handling allows the application to reach near-real-time updates.

Advantage Data Transformer EME 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.

The products use traditional formats for exchanging data between applications but Allen Houpt, brand manager for 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.