Monday, May 5, 2008

Comparing Informatica and OWB

Informatica Powerexchange seems similar to Oracle gateways, but with connectors to Peoplesoft and Siebel in addition to the SAP connectivity that both tools offer. Support is good in both tools for non-Oracle databases (DB2, SQL Server, Teradata, Sybase and so on)

One major difference is that OWB will only populate Oracle 8i, 9i or 10g data warehouses, whilst Informatica works against any major vendor (thanks Duncan for pointing that one out, one of those ’so obvious if you’re used to OWB, I forgot to mention it’ moments…)

Both tools allow you to built reusable components for transforming data, with Powercenter’s being specific to the tool whilst Oracle’s are regular PL/SQL functions and procedures. Informatica, like Oracle, are making a big noise
about grid computing. "PC7 offers server grid capabilities, too, by which

PowerCenter can distribute loads across heterogeneous Unix, Windows, or
Linux-based computing platforms. Although grid capabilities may seem exciting,
I don’t believe they match real-world need for grid computing yet, and I
wouldn’t recommend using them in place of other industry grid solutions."

The main architectural different between Powercenter and OWB is that Powercenter has it’s own ETL engine, that sits on top of the source and target databases and does it’s own data movement and transformation, whilst OWB uses SQL and the built-in ETL functions in 9i and 10g to move and transform data. Interestingly the article observes that the Informatica approach can be slower than the approach used with OWB. "Also, be aware that ETL tools are in general a slower (if more elegant) alternative to native SQL processing (such as Oracle PL*SQL or Microsoft Transact SQL)."

Powercenter’s use of web services and distributed computing looks more developed than OWB’s. "PowerCenter Web services are managed through the Web Services Hub, another component of the architecture, which supports standards such as Simple

Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI). The architectural components can be collocated on a single server or spread across diverse servers, which allows solution parallelism, flexibility, and scalability."

Powercenter starts at around $200,000 (yikes!) although there is a "Flexible pricing model.". OWB is licensed as part of 10gDS which is around $5000 per named user, although you’ll need the Enterprise Edition of the 8i, 9i or 10g database to provide the ETL functionality.

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