The latest version of Informatica's cloud-based data integration platform -- Informatica Cloud Summer 2011 -- includes new features geared toward organizations that want to increase the level of interaction between in-house and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business applications.
Released today, Informatica Cloud Summer 2011 offers newly added management, security and IT control features designed specifically for firms that want SaaS and on-premises applications to play nicely together.
The number of those organizations is on the rise. According to research firms like Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, the "hybrid IT" movement is being driven in part by the growing popularity of cloud or SaaS applications like Salesforce.com, which promise to take much of the cost and effort out of the process of running mission-critical applications.
The trend toward hybrid IT is something that Mark Perry understands well. Perry -- the director of technology at A.W. Hastings & Co., an Enfield, Conn.-based distributor of Marvin and Integrity windows and doors -- said his firm first started using Informatica Cloud services about two years ago in an effort to increase integration between an on-premises Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation and Salesforce.com's SaaS offering for customer relationship management.
"We were new to cloud services in general and we wanted to transition to Salesforce.com, but also we wanted to have a backup plan for our data. We wanted to basically get it out of the cloud and snapshot it so we could have all of our data local in our database," Perry said. "Since then, we've used [Informatica Cloud] to manage all of our data integration needs both to and from the cloud."
Perry has been very pleased with Informatica and specifically gave the software vendor high marks for customer service. However, Perry thinks that Informatica Cloud's error reporting capabilities have room for improvement.
When using Informatica to move records to and from the cloud, Perry receives an automatic notification whenever ever a job is completed successfully. He also receives an automatic notification whenever a job fails. But he does not receive notification when the situation is somewhere in between.
"Let's say I'm transferring 1,000 records, and five records don't make it for some reason. They don't let you know about the five records that didn't make it," Perry explained."It's in an error log that you can go manually sniff and find. But what I requested is that they have two email alerts if a job fails or if a job succeeds, [as well as] a third email alert that says the job didn't 100% succeed."
Perry said Informatica Cloud gets points for allowing him to use data creatively regardless of whether it resides locally or in the cloud. The CIO says he frequently uses Informatica Cloud to build "hybrid" reports that build upon one another over time.
"[Informatica] allows me to build a hybrid report that includes both cloud data and local data," he said. "[It] allows me to transform that data either locally or in the cloud however I see fit."
Informatica Cloud Summer 2011: New features and functionality
According to Informatica, the new features of Informatica Cloud Summer 2011 include:
- Customizable Views that allow users to define queries based on personal preference.
- Flexible Job Scheduling, which enables users to define blackout periods.
- REST API (application program interface), which lets developers perform data integration tasks from an external source to enable real-time cloud data integration.
- A Secure Agent Console Manager that allows administrators to manage the security of all aspects of integration jobs.
- Master Data Management Data Controls, which embed directly into cloud applications like Salesforce.com and provide users with access to master data.
- Fine-Grained Access Controls that allow Informatica Cloud administrators to establish role and group permissions and profiles.
- Organizational Hierarchies, which provide centralized management of multiple Informatica Cloud implementations.
- Two-Factor Authentication, which allows administrators to enforce Internet Protocol restrictions.
"The key theme of this announcement is around enterprise functionality, and we're also seeing a lot more embedding of our cloud service with [Independent Software Vendors]," said Darren Cunningham, vice president of marketing for Informatica Cloud. "Some of the features we're introducing are really going to better enable our partners to embed Informatica Cloud into their applications."
Mark Brunelli is the News Editor for SearchDataManagement.com. Follow him on Twitter @Brunola88.