City of Brantford turns to open source for data integration

An Ontario city has opted to use open source software to integrate a number of its most important applications, choosing to turn away from larger, proprietary options.

The City of Brantford was looking for a system to help consolidate some of its payroll data and to standardize a number of databases onto one platform, according to Muzammil Rajpurkar, database administrator at the City of Brantford.

“It’s not proprietary, so we can customize it how we want. The main thing was there were a lot of adaptors that we saw we wanted and suited our needs, (such as) importing data from our Oracle databases. We have a specific budget for the municipalities, so we were looking at [different options] and this was the best in the market.”

Rajpurkar said the city also looked at offerings from Jaspersoft, “but this was a bigger version of the same thing.”

Headquartered in Suresnes, France, Talend offers Talend Open Studio for data integration; Talend Integration Suite, a subscription-based service aimed at large outfits; and Talend On Demand, a data integration Software as a Service suite.

“The first version of Talend Open Studio was released in 2006 and has been downloaded over 250,000 times, which makes it the most widely-used data integration solution out there, both open source and proprietary,” said Yves de Montcheuil, vice-president of marketing for Talend.

De Montcheuil said that the company does not even know most of its users, as the software is simply downloaded and they go off and use it.

“But we launched early this year a challenge where we wanted users to present projects that they had been developing using our technologies,” explained de Montcheuil. “Brantford submitted an entry and they have a very interesting project where they’re doing real-time integration between several apps using a combination of direct access to the applications and Web services. The idea is to keep several systems for the management of the city’s assets in sync.”

The cost factor was a big impetus for the city to go the open source route, said Rajpurkar.

“Products like Microsoft Vista, they are all big-money in the market, involving a huge investment. We are not a bank and aren’t doing anything on a transactional basis. The money factor is definitely there.”

Rajpurkar said the city intends to expand its use of open source software.

“It’s a really evolving tool, because many versions are coming out with the new components and I think it will be good to stick with it.”

De Montcheuil also believes that open source will continue to grow in popularity in the government sector.

“A lot of the adoption is related to the low cost, and the fact that they don’t want to depend on Microsoft. In Europe, the budgets are a big issue also, but there is also a big thing about being independent form a country that provides most of the software from a handful of vendors that rule the software world.”

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Environment Canada opens up to open source

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