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Rick van der Lans

Welcome to my blog where I will talk about a variety of topics related to data warehousing, business intelligence, application integration, and database technology. Currently my special interests include data virtualization, NoSQL technology, and service-oriented architectures. If there are any topics you'd like me to address, send them to me at rick@r20.nl.

About the author >

Rick is an independent consultant, speaker and author, specializing in data warehousing, business intelligence, database technology and data virtualization. He is managing director and founder of R20/Consultancy. An internationally acclaimed speaker who has lectured worldwide for the last 25 years, he is the chairman of the successful annual European Enterprise Data and Business Intelligence Conference held annually in London. In the summer of 2012 he published his new book Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems. He is also the author of one of the most successful books on SQL, the popular Introduction to SQL, which is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, Italian and German. He has written many white papers for various software vendors. Rick can be contacted by sending an email to rick@r20.nl.

Editor's Note: Rick's blog and more articles can be accessed through his BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel.

As indicated in my previous blog, the last few weeks I've been talking to a large health care organization based in the US that is considering to introduce data virtualization in their business intelligence system. Some of the questions they had on data virtualization represent issues that many organizations struggle with today. Therefore, I decided to share a few of their questions with you.

A question they had was: "If I had to pick a platform to build a solution on, among the vendors, Composite, Denodo, and Informatica, knowing what I know right now (August 2012) about these products, which one would I pick?"

I get this question quite regularly. When I do a seminar or present a keynote at a conference, afterwards there is always at least one delegate with a similar question: "What do you think is the best product?" As everyone can imagine, that question can only be answered with the remark "It depends."

The data virtualization servers of Composite, Denodo, and Informatica, are highly competitive products. They definitely all have great capabilities for data integration, data federation, and data modeling. Still, there are differences--they all have their strengths and weaknesses. One is stronger with respect to accessing non-structured and semi-structured data sources, the second is really good with support for ETL-like functionality, and the third has excellent support for data cleansing and data profiling. Currently, together they form the three top products in the world of data virtualization servers. Comparing them is really like comparing apples with apples.

I always recommend customers to do a PoC (Proof Of Concept) to find the product that's "best" for them. The additional advantage of doing a PoC is that it becomes much clearer to organizations what data virtualization could mean for them, how it will (positively) change their BI projects, and it will open their eyes to opportunities.

Therefore, as to be expected, my answer to this organization was: "It depends, do a PoC", which I hope they will be doing within a few weeks, and which I hope many others will be doing in the near future as well, so that they see how data virtualization will help make their BI systems more agile.

Note: For more information on data virtualization, I refer to my new book "Data Virtualization for Business Intelligence Systems" available from Amazon.

Posted September 5, 2012 10:45 AM
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