Review: Pervasive's Business Integrator Covers All Integration Needs


Primarily used to interface with various systems and build SOA-based solutions, Pervasive Software's Business Integrator 8.12 offers one of the most comprehensive integration suites on the market. Business Integrator complements many enterprise service buses, data warehouse applications, packaged applications and various enterprise B2B data pipelines.

The product does a great job of abstracting data and service end points so that systems can interact in realtime. Business Integrator is now more of a channel-focused toolset. The suite arrives with more than 150 connectors, including connectors for Salesforce.com, Oracle Siebel CRM 10, SAP R/3 BAPI and NetSuite. Business Integrator also has components that provide remote invocation of processes using JCA and message-driven Beans.

Business Integrator also can pass processes to BPEL engines such as Oracle's BPEL server. In fact, Business Integrator can even replace BPEL engines and serve as a hub for XML Web services. Its components can be used to control interactions between services and packaged applications, and with its Process Designer, developers can build complex workflows that orchestrate those interactions.

To facilitate connectivity between various industry-wide XML formats, Business Integrator arrives with a graphical XML Mapper that maps XML Schemas between systems. The feature also links values between unstructured data sources, EDI and SWIFT documents, relational databases, e-mail messages and formatted reports.

Pervasive's Schema Designer is able to generate Schemas between binary files.
Mapping can be done in the Process Designer as well. The Process Designer has a flow design environment to connect components and provide links as well as property configurations between various business processes. Pervasive has a Web RowSet component that can extract data from various relational databases and flat files into XML. The RowSet component makes it easy to create Web services end points.

Business Integrator includes a new Message Component Framework (MCF) built on JavaBeans to quickly connect systems via messaging. Developers have many options available when building components created in this framework.

Its message-based components are compatible with MSMQ, JMS, MQSeries and Oracle AQ. By using Process Designer and the framework, developers can create iterative components to comb through business documents, invoke Web services and connect just about any business application.

This framework allows solution providers to build enterprise software features quickly. Since the message framework uses JavaBeans, developers can only invoke .Net components using service end points.

Likewise, .Net applications can invoke any map running in the Business Integrator engine. Through Visual Studio, .Net developers can add integration code using the .Net API by configuring Web references. Developers also can build wrappers around COM components to interact with .Net managed components.

Pervasive's long history of embedded software has been extended into Business Integratorall components can be compiled into an embedded package. Developers have the option to put together an embedded engine to serve small connection points between systems.

Pervasive's entire suite of components is highly modular and extensible, allowing solution providers to build powerful tools for most needs. Many features from packaged applications, for example, can be replicated quickly using MCF components.

Essentially, Business Integrator can become a robust toolset to build customizable systems using complex business ruleswithout sacrificing open standards. Pervasive provides OEM packaging and rebranding, so solution providers can build custom software with their logos.

Intuit, for instance, built a conversion process using Business Integrator to upload legacy data and third-party accounting software data into QuickBooks. Pervasive was able to build a conversion toolset for Intuit in less than 60 days. Some software managed services run their business around Business Integrator by providing realtime integration between multiple packaged systems.

With Business Integrator, solution providers also can build customizable agents that can be dropped behind corporate firewalls and serve as integration enablers by providing mapping and Web services connectivity between different packaged applications.

Business Integrator has an Easy Loader tool that simplifies the mapping process to load applications with formatted data. With Easy Loader, solution providers can quickly add source files into applications. This is an easy way for customers to get customizable data mapping tools to load files into applications.

Easy Loader uses a wizard to validate rules between source and target files. Pervasive is planning to build more functionality that automates this process.

Business Integrator can be deployed within a distributed environment in which components and engines can reside on multiple operating systems. The product supports many legacy technologies, including COBOL, file systems from mainframes and midrange servers, and nonrelational database systems.

Pervasive has a comprehensive partner program to help solution providers implement solutions. The company offers extensive marketing support that covers presales, pilots and product collateral. Pervasive provides on-site technical services, live phone support and Web information.

Pervasive offers discounts on software of up to 50 percent to Platinum partners. Partner fees are $7,500. Average reseller margins can start as low as 5 percent but can be negotiated up to 40 percent based on volume sales and partner level.

Business Integrator 8.12 is priced between $3,000 and $20,000, depending on configuration.