Oracle's GoldenGate acquisition underlines demand for real-time data integration capabilities

Oracle's acquisition of real-time data integration specialist GoldenGate Software highlights growing customer demand for change data capture and data replication capabilities.

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Oracle's acquisition of GoldenGate Software is yet another indication that companies are increasingly demanding real-time data integration capabilities to support both operational business intelligence (BI) environments and to maintain data availability during application migrations and upgrades, analysts agree.

"This is clearly another data point that supports and validates that this style of technology is in really high demand," said Ted Friedman, an analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner. "It's being driven by the desire for lower latency business intelligence, more real-time and operational BI. It's being driven by the desire to synchronize disparate systems in a lower-latency fashion."

The acquisition also indicates that real-time data integration technology has reached a new level of maturity, he said, with "around 400, 450 [GoldenGate] customers running their technology in fairly large-scale, mission-critical types of scenarios."

GoldenGate specializes in two distinct but related technologies. The first is change data capture (CDC) technology, which recognizes when an important change has occurred in one data source and, in real time, transmits the change to a given target. It is often used to support operational BI environments, such as call centers where customer service representatives need up-to-the-minute customer data.

 The San Francisco-based vendor's other line of business is data replication. Data replication technology supports application and database migrations and upgrades, as well as master data management (MDM) projects, ensuring that data remains synchronized between old and new applications or databases until the project is complete.

For potential buyers of both technologies, Oracle's acquisition of GoldenGate obviously means there is one fewer independent vendor on the market to choose from. IBM acquired another leading CDC vendor, DataMirror, in 2007. That leaves Burlington, Mass.-based Attunity as the leading independent CDC and data replication vendor, Friedman said, along with smaller players Vision Solutions and HiT Software.

Friedman said he expects more acquisitions to occur in the CDC market in the near term, noting that SAP, in particular, lacks comprehensive real-time data integration and data replication technology.

As for Oracle, the vendor is likely to bundle GoldenGate's CDC and data replication technologies into its data integration offerings eventually, according to Rob Karel, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research. But for the short term, Oracle will probably continue offering the products on a standalone basis.

Friedman agreed, adding that Oracle will have to further rationalize its data integration portfolio. GoldenGate's CDC and data replication capabilities overlap with those of Oracle Streams and Oracle Data Guard, respectively, he said.

Karel also noted that while demand for real-time data integration capabilities continues to grow, that doesn't mean it is going to replace extract, transform and load (ETL) and batch migrations. In fact, he said, a number of GoldenGate customers are using CDC technology to complement, not replace, ETL.

"They might pull from production sources intra-day using GoldenGate and then pass it on to an ETL process that might still be nightly," Karel said.

In terms of the data integration market dynamic, the acquisition is likely to have an impact on a number of GoldenGate's partnerships, according to Philip Howard, research director at U.K.-based Bloor Research.

"GoldenGate has a lot of partners, not all of which may want to license a competitor's technology," Howard wrote in a note to clients. "For example, Teradata uses GoldenGate's CDC technology, and IBM Global Services has used the company's migration technology for a number of engagements."

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