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Cloud Data Integration: Not Just For Cloud-Based Data

Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking to a lot of Informatica customers about data integration delivered as an on-demand service. We’ve been hosting a Breakfast in the Cloud event in many cities as part of the Informatica 9 World Tour and the interest in the topic of cloud integration has been overwhelming.  We always spend quite a bit of time reviewing the architecture of Informatica Cloud Services to customers:

  • A Secure Agent is downloaded to sit behind your firewall (or it could be running in a cloud environment).
  • With the enterprise-class performance of Informatica PowerCenter, it is the Secure Agent that does all of the heavy lifting. It is a small footprint that is self-upgrading.
  • A multitenant repository and an easy-to-use data integration interface designed for business self-service are delivered on demand. (You can watch a demo on our YouTube Channel.)
  • Data is not staged in the Informatica Cloud. Instead a direct connection is established between the Secure Agent and Cloud apps or between applications, databases and files that are on premises.

It’s the last point that is often most surprising. Here are some of the questions that inevitably ensue when the lightbulb goes off:

“So I can use Informatica Cloud Services for “quick and dirty” data integration jobs like synchronizing data between two Oracle databases?”

or

You mean Informatica Cloud Services doesn’t have to be used to integrate data from cloud-based applications like salesforce.com?

or

We’ve got Access databases everywhere. Can Informatica Cloud Services be used to help rein some of them in?”

or

“We don’t typically use the Informatica Platform for point-to-point integration projects. Can we use Informatica Cloud Services for that?”

Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

As cloud integration continues to become a top priority for software, platform, and infrastructure as a service deployments (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS), it’s important to remember that the right cloud-based (SaaS) integration solution should not be limited to cloud-based data integration use cases. In fact, we’re continuing to hear more and more interesting on-premises-only use cases for Informatica Cloud Services, whether it’s data synchronization, data replication, or data quality. I’ll be sharing more examples in my next post, but as always, I’m interested in hearing yours.

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7 Responses to Cloud Data Integration: Not Just For Cloud-Based Data

  1. Tom Nats says:

    What I would like to hear more of is examples between cloud and non-cloud implementations.

    I understand the ‘push’ for the cloud but pushing 1GB of data through a mapping hosted at Amazon then back to a local DB just doesn’t make sense unless you have 100Mbps connection to the Internet.

    For ETL to really become ‘cloud’ based, companies need to look at the size of their Internet connection to make it a reality.

    -Tom
    Ayont Consulting

  2. Darren Cunningham says:

    Good point Tom. Network limitations were recently highlighted in a CIO.com article on the topic: http://www.cio.com/article/593811/Cloud_Computing_What_CIOs_Need_to_Know_About_Integration?

    I think you’re referring to doing something like hosting PowerCenter on Amazon.com, which is possible, but there’s still lots of discussion about public vs. private clouds / infrastructure as a service deployments in IT.

    With Informatica Cloud Services, which I would technically define as software as a service, the Secure Agent sits behind your firewall and data moves directly between your sources and targets. The web-based interface is where tasks are created and managed and instructions are sent via XML to the Secure Agent for processing. All Connections use Standard Internet security (VeriSign 128-bit SSL Certification V3
    3) and the Cloud Service undergoes 3 levels of certification:

    1) Data Center – SAS 70 Type 2 (conducted semi-annually)
    2) Application Certification (Symantec via AppExchange)
    3) 3rd Party Certification – Network penetration and Application Assessment by SecureWorks (annually)

    We have seen some customers host the Secure Agent on an Amazon AMI to replicate SaaS application data into a database that is used for BI reporting. Here’s an example: http://www.informatica.com/customers/profiles/Pages/telegraph-media-informatica-cloud.aspx

    Darren

  3. Joseph says:

    Darren,

    The secure agent concept is interesting A question: if the secure agent makes a direct connection between source (SaaS) and destination (on premise), does it contain all the metadata (mappings,etc)? Do those get pushed down from your cloud to the secure agent and the actual ‘heavy lifting’ occurs within the secure agents?

    I was under the impression with these cloud integration services that the actual heavy lifting was done in the cloud, but is that really the case with Informatica ondemand services? Seems like the data can move directly between applications without going through your data center?

    -Joseph

  4. Darren Cunningham says:

    That is correct Joseph. The multitenant metadata repository is in the cloud and the user interface is web-based. Processing occurs on the Secure Agent, which is essentially PowerCenter run-time slimmed down with only what’s needed to execute the tasks.

    Definitely have a look at some of the demos on the YouTube site as well as our customer community:

    http://www.youtube.com/InformaticaOnDemand
    http://iodusers.ning.com/

    Let me know if you’d like to discuss.

    Darren

  5. I posted some of the slides from the Cloud Breakast to provide you with more information about the architecture and some of the primary use cases we see for Informatica Cloud Services:

    http://www.slideshare.net/dcunni07/informatica-cloud-enterpriseclass-data-integration-as-a-service-4278789

  6. Ignacio says:

    Darren

    you mention “Processing occurs on the Secure Agent, which is essentially PowerCenter run-time slimmed down with only what’s needed to execute the tasks”
    This means that hardware where Secure Agent will be installed, needs to be estimated like a heavy work server?

    Regards,
    Ignacio

  7. Pingback: Data Integration in the Cloud – or Not « ecocho.org

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