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PowerCenter Updated With Web Services Support, In-process Data Cleansing

With its next PowerCenter release, Informatica is adding support for key web services standards and beefed-up data profiling and cleansing capabilities, company executives said.

The PowerCenter 7 data integration offering, to be available in early December, adds support for LDAP and the Common Warehouse Model (CWM). The new release will also better "cleanse" data in process, said Sanjay Poonen, senior vice president of marketing at Informatica, Redwood City, Calif.

A newly-embedded data dictionary promises to check data proactively as it is being processed. "It cleanses before reporting. It will see null values, bad data and eliminate it early. Garbage in, garbage out," Poonen said.

The driving force behind a whole raft of updated business intelligence, data integration, and reporting software, is new governmental regulations. In particular, the post-Enron Sarbanes Oxley act, requires better and more timely reporting of financial results and that CEOs sign off on them.

Such mandates have made Extract Transform Load (ETL) a hot area of late. In this arena, Informatica competes with such offerings as Ascential's DataStage offering.

PowerCenter also bulks up its secure check in check out version control and better workflow across geographic locations

Integrators specializing in datawarehousing are particularly interested in ETL.

PowerCenter 7's new team-based development improvements and "location transparency" will help IT outsourcers like Wipro Technologies, according to Vivek Bhasin, vice president of Datawarehousing & E-business for that Bangalore, India-based company.

Bhasin also cited the addition of 64-bit processing support in PowerCenter and said over the past few years PowerCenter has grown from "just an ETL tool to a full-fledged data integration platform."

In September, Informatica broadened its reach with the $62 million acquisition of Striva, a specialist in tapping into mainframe-resident data.

One analyst was positive on the news, and praised recent Informatica moves to hone in on data integration. Earlier this year, the company exited the analytics business, opting instead to partner with third parties on that software. "It's very positive that they're attacking the data integration problem. As a strategic direction, there's a lot of upside for them to focus on integration specifically," said Eric Austvold, research director for Boston-based AMR Research.

PowerCenter 7 will start at $200,000 and runs on Linux, Windows and Unix.

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