Our EII Aim
Our goal was to evaluate how well the EII products integrate data sources, manage the system and configure client access (see "How We Tested EII Suites,", for details on our test setup). We wanted a single access point for NWC Inc. data stored in Oracle9i (order details), SQL Server 2000 (shipping details) and XML files (inventory details). Out-of-the-box support for these sources means fewer deployment headaches. All were successful, though almost all required an RDBMS client on the EII server.
The ideal EII platform should also support legacy apps in the form of ODBC access. In addition, the EII platform must perform minimal data transformations, such as type conversion, and offer some form of caching. The platform also must be bidirectional: It should update data sources and read from them, and it must perform basic cost-based query optimizations.
We quickly discovered the products fall into two categories--those that grew from an RDBMS background (the software from Cincom, Composite, IBM and MetaMatrix) and those that emerged from the XML world (the products from Ipedo, Snapbridge and XAware). This difference radically affected the products' capabilities on the server side, including their caching, data management, metadata and modeling, and query-optimization features, and on the client side, in regards to ODBC/JDBC connectivity.