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Pervasive the most persuasive, cost-effective data integration platform, study says

Pervasive Software bested Oracle, IBM and open source as a data integration vendor, according to respondents to a recent Bloor Research survey.

Pervasive Software came out on top in Bloor Research's recent data integration platform and tools rankings, beating out industry titans Oracle and IBM, and integration specialist Informatica, among others.

According to the report, which ranked data integration vendors on cost and use cases, Pervasive's data integration platform offers the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) among commercial vendors, at just over $500,000 over five years. Only open source data integration technology, which Bloor ranked as one category, bested Pervasive's TCO, but it was plagued by other drawbacks.

Pervasive is ideal for small-scale data integration projects, is itself relatively inexpensive and runs on relatively low-cost hardware, Philip Howard, research director at Northamptonshire, U.K.-based Bloor Research and the report's author, said in an email interview.

"You wouldn't expect to choose [Pervasive] where there are very high-performance requirements or, perhaps, for very large, complex projects, but otherwise they seem to have a broad … capability," Howard said.

Coming in second on TCO at around $1 million over five years was Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services (SSIS). SSIS comes free with SQL Server but requires additional software infrastructure investments to make it "viable for integration," the report states.

On the other end of the spectrum, Informatica and IBM had the highest TCO of all the vendors considered, at just under $3 million and nearly $4 million over five years, respectively. But the two were more likely to be used in large-scale, complex data integration projects, partly accounting for their higher costs.

The report, which surveyed 212 companies using data integration tools for a variety of purposes, evaluated a total of six commercial vendors: Business Objects, IBM, Informatica, Microsoft, Oracle, and Pervasive. Open source vendors were ranked as one vendor, and respondents using custom code for data integration projects were ranked separately.

Bloor asked respondents how much each spent on initial hardware and software costs, ongoing maintenance, and technical and administrative costs, and how long each project took, among other criteria, in order to determine the TCO for each vendor.

Data migration top integration use case

The Bloor report also identified and ranked the five scenarios for which data integration tools are typically used: data conversion and migration projects; extract, transform and load (ETL), customer data integration (CDI), and master data management (MDM) initiatives; synchronization of data between applications (such as customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning), including Software as a Service (SaaS) applications; B2B data exchange; and implementing service-oriented architectures (SOAs).

Thirty-four percent of respondents said they had used data integration tools for data conversion and migration projects, followed by 23% who reported using data integration tools for ETL, CDI and MDM initiatives. Among both categories, Informatica and IBM were the most popular integration tools of choice.

"There is a lot of interest in [data migration] right now, so I am not actually surprised [that it was the most popular use case]," Howard said. "Also, you tend to get multiple data migration projects each year and over a period of years, where ETL is a single project, even though it may be ongoing for years."

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Application synchronization and B2B data exchange were the third and fourth most popular data integration tools use cases, garnering 18% and 16% of responses, respectively.

At the bottom of the use-case scenario rankings was implementing SOA initiatives, but Bloor cautioned this was due more to a lack of awareness than a dearth of applicable tools.

"We suspect that the general weakness in the SOA arena does not reflect the strength of the various tools but is more a question of the awareness of the need for data services within an SOA environment," the report says.

Open source data integration platforms and tools, though boasting the lowest TCO, did not fare as well when considered on a cost-per-project basis, the report found, "because of relatively low reuse" compared with Pervasive and other commercial tools.

"As open source products add capabilities and get more traction, I would guess that they will close the gap," Howard said. "They cost even less but aren't reused as much – but this is probably [going] to change."

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