Informatica Conforms to Metadata Standard

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: November 10 1999

Event Summary

"PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Informatica Corporation (Nasdaq: INFA), provider of one of the leading software platforms for powering e-business and analytic applications, today announced the general availability of MX2 1.6, the latest version of its industry-leading Metadata Exchange (MX2) application programming interface (API). MX2 1.6 is the decision support industry's first object-oriented metadata exchange facility to support XML, a text-based programming language that is emerging as the "lingua franca" for integrating and managing e-business solutions, as well as bi-directional metadata exchange. With the shipment of MX2 1.6, Informatica has again raised the technology bar for enterprise decision support, and delivered to customers a complete solution for metadata access and management."

In addition, Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN; Toronto: CSN), a leading business intelligence vendor, has announced support for the standard. The integration between Cognos and Informatica will give users the ability to generate and manage catalogs that are consistent and updated intelligently throughout the enterprise. Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ) and Seagate Software (Nasdaq: SEG) have also announced support for integration between their products and Informatica PowerCenter and PowerMart using the MX2 API.

Market Impact

The need for consistent standardized metadata in data warehousing has been long awaited (See TEC News Analysis article: "Is There Finally a Metadata Exchange Standard on the Horizon?" September 28, 1999). Customers have been frustrated by the inability of different vendors' products to share information about the data that is contained in their source systems and data warehouses or data marts. The fact that Informatica has created a standard XML interchange methodology that is being coded to by other major vendors is a strong competitive advantage. XML (Extensible Markup Language), an almost universally accepted standard, is a document format for the Web that is more flexible than the standard HTML format. While HTML uses only predefined tags to describe elements within the page, XML allows tags to be defined by the developer of the page. Other tool vendors, such as Informatica's competitor Ardent Software, have used a different approach. Ardent has employed a technology they call "DataStage MetaBrokers". MetaBroker partners already include Brio Technology, Business Objects, Computer Associates (for the Platinum technology/LogicWorks Erwin modeling product), Cognos, Embarcadero Technologies, Informix, Hyperion Solutions, and Seagate Software. Using these technologies, Ardent is attempting to build an "Enterprise Information Infrastructure" which will provide interoperability between products and solutions. We believe that all business intelligence vendors will have to implement similar solutions to the metadata interchange issue soon.

User Recommendations

Companies considering business intelligence solutions must be careful to have the potential vendors explain how they intend to share metadata between applications from different vendors. XML is the industry standard and would be the preferred approach. The product under consideration should have direct metadata sharing with the largest possible number of business and design intelligence tools.

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