Buyers of data integration software need to be aware of a key fact: this software category addresses a broad array of tasks that span different industries, data types and formats. As you select a data integration tool, makes sure to find out: is it well suited for my businesses data type, industry and/or format?
Businesses know that data analytics is the new currency. Yet, transforming vast amounts of structured and unstructured data into information, knowledge and actionable insight can prove daunting – this key task in Big Data is far from easy. Data integration tools address this challenge – if you select the best one for your business.
These data integration tools parse through heterogeneous data and extract what’s relevant. They are critical because as data sources expand (data volumes now double about every two years) the need for powerful data integration software grows – particularly now that artificial intelligence and machine learning are on the rise. Not surprisingly, multiple vendors and software platforms are available.
Our methodology for choosing the following data integration tools relied heavily on the established reputation in the industry. The following vendors are those well known to have advanced, well maintained offerings, backed by a solid legacy name. Here’s a look at 12 of the best data integration tools:
- Astera Centerprise Data Integrator
- Dell Boomi
- IBM Infosphere
- Informatica PowerCenter
- Information Builders
- Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
- Oracle Data Integrator
- SAP Data Services
- Talend Open Studio
- TIBCO Software
Experts forecast exceptionally rapid growth for the data integration software market. Source: MarketResearchFuture.
How to Buy Data Integration Tools
As noted above, “data integration” is a mixed category that includes a remarkably diverse jumble of tools and functionality. Sure, there’s ETL, but there’s also data virtualization. In short, you want to look among the top data integration for the following capabilities. Which of these key features below do you need? Is the vendor you’re considering have a strong offering in this area?
Data consistency: Your data is spread between large applications, perhaps a couple, maybe more. Can the solution allow/create a bridge between them?
Interoperability with full prepped analytics: This is the big one. In sum, can the solution extract and transform the data (in all the many formats you hold it) and enable it to move efficiently through your systems?
Data migration: In a multicloud world, you’re going to be migrating your data between platforms again and again – likely more than you could ever imagine now. Does the solution ease the headaches of data migration, even between competing platforms?
There are others key data integration tools, of course, including master data management and broad-based cross-company sharing. Bottom line: data integration is a complex topic. You really do need to have an in-depth conversation with your potential vendor, explain to them your needs (and potential needs) and see if they can truly address them.
Top Data Integration Software
Astera Centerprise Data Integrator
This Windows-based platform delivers an on-premises solution that addresses data integration, data transformation, data quality, and data profiling and mapping. It is highly extensible and scalable, provides a straightforward and easy-to-use interface, and it accommodates numerous data formats and multiple development languages. Among the other software platforms and data integration tools it supports: Microsoft SQL Server, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise, Teradata, Salesforce.com, Oracle and Netezza.
There’s a growing need to connect applications and data across legacy systems and clouds. Boomi aims to tackle this challenge through a low code graphical interface with pre-built connectors and APIs. This lets users integrate data repositories from multiple vendors, including Netsuite, Salesforce, GoogleSheets and Oracle E-Business Suite. Boomi handles master data management, data integration and data quality services (DQS) within a single interface.
Flexibility is the center of digital transformation. Denodo’s approach to data integration revolves around data virtualization. Its uses a robust collection of APIs to connect legacy systems, cloud repositories and other data sources. Denodo generates global metadata that allows any user or application to discover, search and browse data. It incorporates strong data governance and security features.
IBM offers a set of data integration tools that are powerful and flexible. As a result, Infosphere is ideal for tackling large and complex data initiatives. The platform deftly handles metadata and it delivers a high level of cross-industry integration. The ETL capabilities allow users to connect to virtually any source, including unstructured data.
Among data integration tools, PowerCenter is a standout for its strong automation capabilities. It offers robust mapping, input, transformation and output functions through a metadata driven approach. The platform supports multiple DBMS technologies, including Oracle and Netezza. It can handle large batches of data smooth and it provides strong integration with business rules.
The company’s Omni-Gen platform include a diverse array of tool sets, including embedded data prep, data integration, and AI and ML features. In sum, this one single platform, accompanied by a mix of data tools, is capable of creating a completely integrated data infrastructure. It offers an array of connectivity tools to create these data implementations. In a strategy that some customers will find highly useful, Information Builders includes pre-built data frameworks and templates with its data integration applications.
The company is strong in the financial service sector as well as healthcare. Of particular importance: Information Builders has a reputation as a company that will work with customers, supporting them. Given the complexity of data integration, this is a superb attribute.
Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)
The strength of SSIS lies in its powerful and easy-to-use ETL capabilities, including deploying solutions without writing code. SSIS is highly flexible and extensible–and it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products that use SQL along with outside sources like Oracle and IBM DB2. An added bonus is that the data integration software supports plug-ins and share-ware. This greatly enhances its functionality.
Oracle Data Integrator (ODI)
Java-based ODI offers a highly flexible platform that is particularly valuable for enterprise big data initiatives. ODI can connect to virtually any data source and accommodate almost every data format. It offers an extensive array of features, a high level of customization, and users report that it’s relatively easy to use. All of this makes it a popular choice for data integration software.
SAP Data Services
Among data integration tools, SAP data services receives high marks for flexibility and integration with both SAP and non-SAP applications. It can accommodate data sources as diverse as spreadsheets and Hadoop cloud services. Smart dashboards and other tools provide broad and deep visibility into data and events. SAP uses the Tableau software platform to deliver fast analytics and visualizations.
The software analytics vendor offers robust data integration tools that accommodate a wide array of data types and formats. SAS is particularly strong in transformation functions and metadata integration. It also offers strong workflow visualizations, flexible query language support and important optimization features, including accessing native capabilities and features from the underlying data source. Users also give SAS high marks for its support and training.
Talend Open Studio
This software platform (which comes in a basic free version and a more feature laden commercial version) offers robust design and productivity tools, including strong support for an SOA architecture and Hadoop in integration. It has built-in widgets and objects that simplify many processes. The GUI is straightforward, and users generally report that it’s relatively easy to use. Open Studio supports a wide variety of functions without scripting, and it has built in connectivity to more than 450 software tools and applications, including Dropbox and Box. It runs on Windows, Linux and OS X. See the Talend Data Platform updates.
In keeping with the heterogeneous nature of the data integration tools sector, TIBCO offers an broad array of tools. Along with TIBCO Cloud Events and TIBCO Cloud Integration, the company offers TIBCO Data Virtualization, which allows data to be represented in various parts of the enterprise without always being physically present – a particularly useful tool, given how many parts of a company may need access to data pools at any one time.
Increasingly, as cloud matures, data lives at the edge, streaming from a network of sensors and mobile devices. TIBCO Streaming handles this deluge of edge-based data, and indeed TIBCO is well regarded for its edge-based data tools. Importantly for a data integration vendor, TIBCO has filled out its portfolio with acquisitions that cover the classic data integration functions. Also significant: TIBCO picked up ETL tools with its purchase of Scribe Software, and has acquired data governance and master data management functionality to round out its portfolio.