Data integration vendor Informatica today released version 8.5 of its PowerExchange and PowerCenter products, adding several new features aimed at making data more accessible to SOA and business intelligence apps. These include enhanced real-time integration capabilities, finer control over security, and dashboards that try to quantify data quality.
Informatica has also announced that it will develop add-ons to PowerCenter aimed at specific integration tasks. The first of these is aimed at ensuring data quality and available now, with one for data migration due in Q1 2008. Several of the new features come from acquisitions that Informatica has made since the 8.0 release, including unstructured data access from ItemField, which it bought a year ago, and data quality measurement from Similarity Systems.
The products' greatest strengths are the ability to access data from multiple different vendors, so most Informatica customers use it in heterogonous environments. This has also led to reseller partnerships with several vendors who also sell data integration products of their own and so can be considered competitors, including SAP, Sun and Cognos. But as data integration becomes more important, Informatica faces other larger competitors that include Oracle and Microsoft. The largest is IBM, which announced multiple new data integration products earlier this month.