DataMirror Unveils Dynamic ODS Offering
With Dynamic ODS, DataMirror hopes to break out from its association with AS/400 in the minds of customers
Last week, DataMirror Corp. announced a new Dynamic operational data store (ODS) product designed for companies suffering growing pains with their existing data warehouse infrastructures.
The idea, officials say, is that by deploying DataMirror's Dynamic ODS offering alongside an existing production data warehouse, companies can more easily add new data sources, address nagging performance problems, and facilitate real-time access to business critical information.
Dynamic ODS is actually a combination of several DataMirror offerings. It’s based on the DataMirror Transformation Server, a data replication and aggregation offering with real-time change-data-capture (CDC) functionality. CDC helps provide the “dynamic” capabilities of the Dynamic ODS product by detecting changes to source data and flowing them into the ODS in real time.
Optional Dynamic ODS components include DataMirror’s Constellar Hub, which features pre-built interfaces to enterprise application systems and message queuing systems, along with the company’s iReflect (which supports replication between and among Oracle databases).
Interestingly, DataMirror itself seems to emphasize the campaign aspects of the Dynamic ODS product more than the technology in its promotional materials. "With the Dynamic ODS sales campaign, we're focusing our sales energy on an area where we know customers need help and where we see the greatest opportunity to create value,” says Stewart Ritchie, DataMirror’s senior vice-president of worldwide sales, in a statement.
There could be a reason for that. In spite of DataMirror’s attempts to diversify away from the AS/400-iSeries space in which it first made its name, DataMirror's association with that hardware is still strong. For that reason, suggests Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis, Dynamic ODS is an important (if not original) deliverable for the company. “It helps the company position itself as a solutions provider and serves to further dispel the lingering myth that its technology is only applicable to IBM iSeries — environments,” he points out.
One reason Dynamic ODS could shine a light on DataMirror-the-broader-solutions-provider, says Schiff, is because it addresses a critical need. In this respect, he argues, it’s sure to at least attraction attention from customer prospects otherwise unfamiliar with DataMirror—or who (once again) associate it largely with iSeries.
“[I]t will serve to facilitate the creation and use of operational data stores that will allow deploying organizations to combine real-time analysis with the operational aspects of their businesses,” he explains. “While DataMirror is certainly not the only data integration vendor with change-data-capture functionality, nor the first to address operational data stores, it helps position the company as a provider of business solutions rather than just replication and data-integration tools.”
ODSes, for the record, have emerged as a pragmatic complement and alternative to the traditional batch-driven data warehouse. “Operational data stores, updated in real-time, are attracting a great deal of attention as organizations move to augment their operations with real-time analysis capabilities,” Schiff explains. “DataMirror has recognized this trend and with its Dynamic ODS is taking the necessary actions to leverage its technology to appeal to this market while positioning itself in client organizations as a solutions provider, rather than just a toolset vendor.”
Because Dynamic ODS uses database log files (instead of database triggers) for change data capture, DataMirror can rightfully claim that customers won’t need to modify source applications (much less the underlying database schema) in order to use it. This also has the effect of minimizing performance impact on operational systems, Schiff notes.
Schiff likes what he sees in Dynamic ODS, but says DataMirror’s offering might confuse some prospective customers. “Due to the fact that DataMirror configures a Dynamic ODS solution according to customer requirements and data sources, it is not at all obvious what product components and services are included in any specific Dynamic ODS solution offering,” he points out.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.