Archive for Informatica

Microsoft Azure Plus Informatica Equals Cloud Convenience

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This was originally published on June 4, 2018 on the Amalgam Insights site.


Two weeks ago (May 21, 2018), at Informatica World 2018, Informatica announced a new phase in its partnership with Microsoft. Slated for release in the second half of 2018, the two companies announced that Informatica’s Integration Platform as a Service, or IPaaS, would be available on Microsoft Azure as a native service. This is a different arrangement than Informatica has with other cloud vendors such as Google or Amazon AWS. In those cases, Informatica is more of an engineering partner, developing connectors for their on-premises and cloud offerings. Instead, Informatica IPaaS will be available from the Azure Portal and integrated with other Azure services, especially Azure SQLServer, Microsoft’s cloud database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

For Informatica customers who already use Azure, this creates great convenience. Instead of creating server instances on Azure and then installing Informatica software from scratch, customers will be able to create an IPaaS instance from the Azure portal. This allows customer to standup an IPaaS instance much faster and with less effort. Microsoft Azure customers, especially mid-market customers, who may have found an Informatica server IPaaS installation time consuming or daunting will now have an easier option too. Until now, the only way to get an Informatica installation without hand installing it was to purchase a cloud instance directly from Informatica. That would have required two different cloud relationships – Informatica for IPaaS and Microsoft for everything else. Amalgam Insights predicts that this will make Informatica IPaaS much more attractive to the existing Microsoft Azure customer base. The potential is especially high for customers who deploy SQLServer and are actively looking to move those databases to Azure SQLServer.

This partnership also provides Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services customers with a true multi-cloud option. Customers that we spoke to at Informatica World 2018 were interested in multi-cloud – many were already architecting for multi-cloud – and clearly excited by the potential to support their existing Informatica cloud offerings with an easy alternative. While the reasons companies use multi-cloud strategies vary – backup, extra capacity, segmenting architecture, or simply because of unique value in different cloud – most Informatica customers pursuing multi-cloud were excited to have another cloud option that didn’t require manual installation.

Informatica and Microsoft are natural partners. PowerBI makes for an excellent front-end for the line of business user that Informatica is pursuing. Similarly, PowerBI users need well integrated and conditioned data to create meaningful dashboards and visualizations. SQLServer is a popular data source for Informatica’s platform; Having Informatica IPaas on Azure will make the combination of Azure SQLServer and PowerBI more powerful by providing clean data from many databases as one view. This partnership is a win for both Informatica and Microsoft customers, especially their shared customers. We are looking forward to more partnerships like this with other cloud vendors in the future.

As API Management Problem Grows, Informatica Jumps into the Market

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This originally appeared on the Amalgam Insights website on January 2, 2018

API management is a necessary but boring practice. As developers make use of a mix of public cloud, purchased or open source libraries, and homegrown services, the number of APIs used by developers quickly renders pouring through documentation impractical.

Microservices, usually accessed via RESTFul APIs, cause API calls to rapidly proliferate. Even modest sized microservices-based systems experience API overload quickly. Agile development can exacerbate the problem of understanding and using APIs. The rapid pace of Agile, especially Scrum, leaves little time for proper documentation of APIs. Documentation often takes a back seat to continuous deployment.

There are a number of other concerns with API management aside from simply documenting APIs. Once APIs are in widespread use, they need to be actively managed to ensure that they haven’t changed and are only accessed securely. Access control of APIs becomes especially important when these are exposed to customer, partners, and the developer community, and monitoring of API performance.

For a developer to use an API properly they must understand the following:

  • which API calls exist
  • how the API are used and function
  • what parameters are available and what data structures the API call expects
  • is access to API calls restricted and what controls exist on that access
  • how the API calls are authenticated
  • error conditions and error codes
  • what the expected result sets and data structures are

That’s a lot to remember. Good documentation and reference books exist for major open source and commercial services but not for homegrown and lesser known APIs.

At the heart of API management is a data problem, more accurately a data management problem. The APIs themselves are a form of data – information that tells a developer how to access a service – and the documentation and controls the metadata. Managing APIs, which are sources of services, is not much different than cataloging, exposing, monitoring, and otherwise managing data sources.

It’s not that surprising then that Informatica has entered the API management market, alongside IBM, Microsoft, MuleSoft, and a host of others. Finding, managing, and securing data sources are Informatica’s bread and butter competency. With developers already using their software to manage data sources, it’s natural for those same customers to want Informatica to help them manage the APIs for the services they create to access and manipulate that data.

As microservices architectures become more prevalent and companies need to expose APIs both internally and to their partners and customers, the need for API management will only grow. Sure, it’s dull but so is changing the oil in your car. It’s not good practice to ignore either.