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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Costs of Integration Tools

In my work as a consultant, I've noticed that direct software costs are the biggest barrier to working with an integration tool.  Talend Open Studio removes this barrier completely.  This post explains the difficulty in bringing integration tools in house lists the prices of the market leaders.

For a small company, a direct software cost in the tens of thousands of dollars can be prohibitive.  But even big companies can have diificulty with this type of acquisition.  That's because of corporate purchasing processes that favor labor over products.

In the corporate world, I've seen big companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on labor for integration projects.  They build out, in effect, their own integration tool.  The projects start off simple enough, but to fully productionalize an integration tool or set of scripts -- adding services like configuration, logging, rejecting, etc. --  often requires more than was originally concieved.  The result is a mismatch of scripts and utilities written in shell scripting, Perl, Python, PL/SQL, and SQL Loader.  The result is never GUI-based, is sparsely documented, and requires a learning curve for new developers.

Purchasing a tool, any tool, that would help with this type of project is subject to extensive review in the corporate world.  It's a big ticket item that is easily tracked by managers, architects, and accountants and is subject to a swift veto when budgets are strained.

I found an interesting blog post discussing a special Oracle pricing of Informatica. It also lists some prices for Oracle Data Integrator and IBM DataStage.  The post lists direct software costs of $20k, $50k, and even $100k for integration tools:  "Oracle BI Gambit Cutting the Price of Informatica.

The GSA Advantage, a web site listing software prices for the U.S. Government, corroborates this when queried on January 12, 2011.  One contractor lists a software subscription and support package for DataStage at $50k.  A different contractor lists a similar configuration of Informatica at over $50k (support isn't mentioned).

The 2010 report published by Boor Research, "Comparative Costs and Uses of Data Integration Platforms: Research and Survey Results" lists initial license costs of the Microsoft (presumably SSIS) and Pervasive Data Integrator at $36k and $29k, respectively.  The report also notes that the users of integration tools from database vendors (IBM, Oracle, etc.) are using more products than dedicated tools like Informatica PowerCenter or Pervasive Data Integrator.

The best source of pricing is the vendors and the resellers themselves.  If you're planning on using one of the company's products mentioned in ths article or the linked article at it.toolbox.com, contact the vendor with your specific requirements.

As your quotes are prepared, consider downloading or having your development team download Talend Open Studio.  Doing so will help build the technical case for GUI-driven integration by exposing developers to the design concepts.  You may find that Talend's capabilities are perfect for your project and that no big-ticket purchase is required.  If you go the closed source route, the experience of working with Talend Open Studio will transfer to your eventual selection

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