Hummingbird unveils simplified data integration

Canada’s Hummingbird Ltd. has officially unveiled the latest version of its Genio Suite data integration platform (Hummingbird package simplifies data sharing) at The Data Warehousing Institute’s World Conference 2001 in Anaheim, Calif.

Featuring native support for XML and SAP and broader connectivity to mainframes, Genio Suite 5.0 is currently in beta testing, but is scheduled for wide release in October.

Upgrades to the Genio Suite, which also include a new graphical user interface (GUI), are in response to customer requests for easier implementation and management, says Mathias Evin, product manager for Genio Suite. The new features will “facilitate the deployment and ensure the ability to access all data sources … not only rational, but also mainframe systems and XML data,” he says.

New features include: native support for mainframes using technology from database software vendor Striva; native support for XML; native support for SAP; the ability to process binary data types; and native support for Teradata’s Tpump loader, Microsoft Corp. SQL Server loader and IBM Corp. Universal Database loaders. Genio already supports Oracle Corp., Sybase Inc. and Teradata multiload and fast-load bulk loaders, but version 5.0 includes streaming of Teradata loaders so data doesn’t have to be converted into text files.

The new version improves data set manipulations, so users can join tables from different data sources into a single data set, and edit data sets. Genio 5.0 includes a new GUI that allows custom views of transformation projects, provides a centralized administration interface and offers running context so changes in process parameters can be implemented midstream.

The need for extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) tools (functions needed to pull data out of one database and put it in another) is growing as companies strive to integrate data residing in disparate systems, making the market increasingly competitive, says Lou Agosta, director of research at Giga Information Group. With Genio Suite 5.0, Hummingbird is positioned to be a strong contender with market leaders Ascential and Informatica, he says.

“It’s good, solid progress,” Agosta says. “Genio is catching up… It can now compete with the best.”

Evin says Genio is going a step further than its ETL competitors by integrating messaging technology that allows near-real-time data integration, pitching it against enterprise application integration vendors such as IBM with its MQSeries software that uses message-oriented middleware to integrate platforms.

“Originally we are coming from the ETL market. Now we are playing in both (the ETL and EAI) markets,” says Evin.

He says Hummingbird is working closely with NCR, which makes the Teradata Database, to implement “active data warehousing.” Increasingly, enterprises want to refresh data warehouses in near real time, rather than doing daily or weekly refreshing jobs, Evin says.

“The economy is moving fast, and we want to make decisions faster. So we want to have accurate information all the time – and for that we have to update the warehouse every hour, or sometimes every quarter-hour,” he says.

Evin says pricing for Genio Suite 5.0 will be the same as for Genio Suite 4.7, which costs US$50,000 for a Windows NT license and $75,000 for a Unix license. Connectors for the mainframe systems will run between $20,000 and $40,000, Evin says. Connectors to standard databases such as Oracle, Sybase and SQL server are about $10,000.