Informatica and IBM Partner for ETL

If IBM already has a partnership with Ascential Software Corp, why has it just inked an agreement with Informatica?

Yesterday, data integration specialist Informatica Corp. entered into an agreement with IBM Corp. in which Big Blue will use Informatica’s ETL technology to help migrate new customers to DB2.

Ron Papas, vice president of business development with Informatica, says that Big Blue plans to tap Informatica’s PowerCenter, PowerConnect, and PowerExchange ETL tools to move data from Oracle, SQL Server, and other databases. “Specifically, when they go to do an enterprise database deal, or a large database deal, typically, there might be some other databases in place that are part of their transaction migrating over to DB2,” he explains.

Big deal, you say? Perhaps—but don’t forget that IBM has a long-standing partnership with data integration pure player Ascential Software Corp. In fact, Ascential was spun off from the former Informix Corp. when Big Blue acquired that company in 2001. Why, then, is Big Blue cozying up to Informatica?

Paul Rivot, director of database software and business intelligence with IBM, says that it’s all about giving customers what they want.

“With Ascential, some of the things we were involved with came over with Informix, and so it’s been a very good partnership with Ascential over the years,” he stresses. “But typically, what we do in any case is driven by what the customers are asking us, and so we’ve got a lot of customers that use Informatica and DB2, we have a lot of customers that use Ascential and DB2.”

Representatives from both companies hinted that more collaboration might be in store in the future. “The IBM relationship obviously is strategic to us, and we’ve been paying a lot more attention to IBM recently, so the only thing I can say is to stay tuned for future announcements,” confirms Informatica’s Papas.

Adds Rivot: “I think you’ll continue to see more and more announcements with [IBM and Informatica] as groups or as companies, just because our businesses definitely complement each other.”

IBM was also a presenter at Informatica’s analyst briefings last week, which surprised at least one analyst who attended.

“IBM was there talking about all of their partners, they were saying they’re partners with everybody—but why come to an Informatica analyst conference to tell us this?” Asks Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc. “Maybe they’re leveraging this as an opportunity to get in front of a bunch of analysts on the cheap—or maybe there’s more to it.”

IBM’s Rivot, for his part, notes that Big Blue has partnered with Informatica “for years and years at various levels.”

More to the point, argues Schiff, IBM had a long-standing partnership with the former Striva Corp., a provider of mainframe data integration technologies, which Informatica acquired last year. This week, Informatica quietly announced a product name—PowerExchange—for the erstwhile Striva technologies. “The big news is they’re definitely reviving the Striva partnership. Informatica has now given the product a name, which is PowerExchange, so clearly, it’s a more appealing partnership for IBM,” he comments.

Jeff Jones, director of strategy for data management with IBM, says that Informatica’s support for DB2 running on the mainframe played some part in the agreement. “Relations have gone on for some time [with Informatica], and Informatica has now enabled their software for DB2 [for z/OS], so now we have this very specific arrangement around this [migration plan],” he confirms.

For the record, Informatica’s PowerExchange can get at mainframe data in DB2, VSAM, Adabase, and IDBMS repositories, among others.

Current Analysis’ Schiff, for his part, speculates that Informatica may still be smarting from the very public defection of long-time partner PeopleSoft Corp. to Ascential earlier this year. In this respect, he speculates, the partnership with IBM is a means for it to reaffirm its data integration credibility.

“The PeopleSoft loss probably hurt them more from a marketing loss than an economic sense,” he observes. “So they may be looking at this to help restore some of their marketing momentum.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.