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Taming the Hybrid IT Era through Data Integration

Taming the Hybrid IT Era through Data Integration
By
James Alan Miller

James Alan Miller is Managing Editor of Tom's IT Pro. He is a veteran technology journalist with over seventeen years of experience creating and developing magazine and online content. Founding editor of numerous business and enterprise computing sites at the internet.com network, James headed up the After Hours section at PC Magazine, as well as hardware and software sections of various Windows publications.

Tom's IT Pro spoke with Informatica's Cloud VP about how data integration can assist enterprises in getting a handle on today's fragmented information explosion. The company recently mobilized the administration of its Cloud-based solutions.

This week, Informatica extended the administration of its Cloud-based services to iOS devices. The company released a new app, simply called Informatica (Free, download), for the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch that lets IT pros remotely monitor and administer their enterprise’s Informatica Cloud accounts.

Informatica bills its Cloud products as “data integration as a service” solutions focused on ease of use for defined use cases: data migration, synchronization, replication and address validation. Offerings provide customers with the ability to seamlessly move and synchronize data back-and-forth between Informatica's datacenters and onsite and offsite (Software as a Service) applications.

For instance, Informatica Cloud enables SAP shops to automate and schedule the integration of their business management data with SalesForce CRM, all without the creation of custom code. Users can synchronize account information and contacts between the two platforms and export data to analyze and create reports.

The point is to give Informatica Cloud customers the tools they require to make the most out of, get a handle on and unify the huge amounts of data generated by employees and various business systems on a daily basis.

That’s a good thing. For, as IDC reported earlier this year, the quantity of data generated globally is truly staggering. IDC projected worldwide use would grow by up to 44 times to a 35.2 zettabytes in 2011. That's a billion terabytes.

As Informatica Cloud vice president Darren Cunningham put it to Tom's IT Pro, "The world of business has a new currency—data." This data explosion and a corresponding increase in the size of individual datasets, as reported by IDC, makes the process of parsing meaning from all those bits and bytes more complex than ever.

The challenge is that the majority of this data is fragmented throughout the enterprise, locked away in various applications (i.e. financial, human resource, customer or sales management systems, etc.) that, even if they speak the same language, aren't always in a position to do so effectively.

"Most of it [data] is unstructured in documents like spreadsheets, PDFs, Word, etc. To add to this, critical data now often resides outside of the corporate firewall with outsourcers, trading partners, or 'in the Cloud' with Software as a Service applications,” explained Cunningham. “When (or if) the data is connected, it is usually done on a case-by-case, project-by-project basis, which results in a tangle of interfaces that are difficult to manage and easy to break."