What is Informatica? Uses of Informatica

  • Data must be collated, united, compared, and made to work as a seamless whole.
  • But the different databases do not really communicate well.
  • Additionally, many organizations that have implemented interfaces between these databases face other problems like every pair of databases needs a unique interface and change in one database leads to an upgradation in many other interfaces.

Informatica has various products focused towards data integration. However, Informatica PowerCenter is the leading product in their portfolio. It has become so prevalent that Informatica PowerCenter is now used synonymously to Informatica. It is a data integration tool based on ETL architecture. It provides data integration software and services for several businesses, industries and government organizations like telecommunication, healthcare, financial and insurance services.

Background behind ETL:

Every company these days processes a huge set of data. The data comes from different sources and needs to be processed to give insightful information for making critical business decisions. But quite often such data has a few challenges like a huge chunk of data can be in any format and would be available in several databases and many unstructured files. It data must be collated, united, compared, and made to work as a seamless whole. But the different databases do not really communicate well. Additionally, many organizations that have implemented interfaces between these databases face other problems like every pair of databases needs a unique interface and change in one database leads to an upgradation in many other interfaces.

For all such problems, there is one solution known as data Integration. Data Integration technologies permit data from different databases and formats to communicate with each other. However, there are different architecture in data integration technology. Informatica uses the Extract, Transform & Load (ETL) architecture which is the most renowned architecture to perform data integration.

Informatica is the most commonly used tool with the capability to connect and fetch data from heterogeneous sources.

What is ETL?

ETL is a type of data integration and comprises of an architecture that extracts, transforms, and then loads data in target database or files.  It is the groundwork of data warehouse.

An ETL system Extracts data from source systems, transforms and cleans up the extracted data, Indexes and summarizes it, loads it into the warehouse, Tracks changes made to the source data needed for the warehouse, Restructures keys, Maintains the metadata and Refreshes the warehouse with updated data.

How Informatica performs ETL:

ETL has three main functions which are described as follows:

Extract: The PowerCenter reads data, row by row, from a table (or group of related tables) in a database, or from a file. This database or file is known as the source. The structure of the source is controlled in a source definition object.

Transform: Informatica PowerCenter converts the rows into a format the second or the target system will be able to use. The logic for this conversion is elaborated in transformation objects.

Load: Informatica PowerCenter writes data, row by row, to a table (or group of related tables) in a database, or to a file. This database or file is known as the target. The structure of the target is controlled in a target definition object.

Uses/Applications of Informatica:

Informatica is typically used in:

  • Data warehousing: Typical actions that are required in data warehouses like putting information from many sources together for analysis and moving data from many databases to the data warehouse.
  • Data Migration: If a company purchases a new accounts payable application, PowerCenter can move the existing account data to the new application. Informatica conserves data lineage for tax, accounting, and other legally directed purposes
  • Application Integration: If company XYZ purchases Company ABC; to achieve the benefits of consolidation, Company ABC’s billing system must be integrated into Company XYZ’s billing system which can be easily done using Informatica.
  • Middleware: Informatica I capable of connecting a variety of sources, including most of the Application Sources and can act as SAP certified Data Integration tool. It can pull and push data into SAP R3, SAP BW systems and have connectivity adapter for majority of the Application Sources. It can also be used as middleware between two applications like SAP R3, SAP BW etc.

What is Informatica Architecture?

The architecture of Informatica PowerCenter is based on the concept of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). A service-oriented architecture (SOA) can be elaborated as a group of services, that communicate with each other. The process of communication involves either simple transfer of data or it could involve two or more services directing same activity.

The Informatica PowerCenter tool consists of 2 components which are:

  • Client components
  • Server components

Client Components of Informatica PowerCenter:

PowerCenter Repository Manager: Repository Manager is used to administer repositories. It is capable of managing user and groups. One can create, delete, and edit repository users and user groups using it. One can also assign and revoke repository privileges and folder permissions.

Informatica PowerCenter Designer: The PowerCenter Designer is the client wherein we specify how to move the data between several sources and targets.  This is where we understand the various business requirements by use of different PowerCenter components known as transformations and pass the data through them.  The Designer is also used to create source definitions, target definitions and transformations, which can be further utilized to develop mappings.

Informatica PowerCenter Workflow Manager: It is an ordered set of one or more than one sessions and other tasks, designed to achieve an overall operational purpose.

Informatica PowerCenter Workflow Monitor: The Workflow Monitor, a PowerCenter tool, is used to monitor the implementation of workflows and tasks.

Informatica Administrator Console: Informatica Administrator console  is the administration tool to administer the Informatica domain and Informatica security. Informatica Administrator console is only available after Informatica installation.

Server Components of Informatica PowerCenter:

The server components of PowerCenter comprises of the following services:

  • Repository service: The Repository service manages the repository. It retrieves, inserts, and updates metadata in the repository database tables.
  • Integration service: The Integration service runs sessions and workflows.
  • SAP BW service: The SAP BW service looks out for RFC requests from SAP BW and starts workflows to extract data from, or load data into the SAP BW.
  • Web services hub: The Web services hub gets requests from web service clients and discloses PowerCenter workflows as services.

Informatica Services & Service Manager:

A service is a resource which provides dedicated functions. All PowerCenter processes run as services on a node. Informatica PowerCenter has typically two types of services:

Application Services signify server-based functions including Repository and Integration Services.

Core Services signify functions which manage and maintain the environment in which PowerCenter operates and include services such as Log Service, Licensing Service, and Domain Service to name a few.

Service Manager: The Service Manager is a service that manages all domain operations and runs on every node within a Domain. On the gateway node, the Service Manager is responsible for Controlling the Domain, Managing the services running on the Domain and Providing service lookup. On all nodes, the Service Manager is supposed to control the core services and application services.

Talend Vs Informatica PowerCenter

Now that we have a comprehensive understanding of both the tools, we can look into how they are different from each other. Following are the points of comparison between both the tools:

  • Folder: Folder is present in both the tools to organize jobs with different categories/projects. The difference lies in that Talend allows subfolders inside folders whereas Informatica does not support such a thing.
  • Repository/ Project Repository: The Repository in PowerCenter or the Project Repository in Talend is the storage location that contains data related to all the technical items that one can use either to describe business models or to design Jobs/workflow. Various metadata objects like Jobs, Contexts, and Database Connections etc. are stored in a repository.
  • Source and Target Definitions and Connections/ Repository metadata: Source and Target Definitions and Connections in PowerCenter or the Repository metadata in Talend is used to store schema definitions.
  • Workflow/ Job: A workflow in Informatica or a job in Talend is a graphical design, of one or more components linked together. It allows one to set up and run data flow.
  • Transformation/ Components: Transformations in Informatica or Components in Talend deliver a specified functionality which implements the data flow. These are preconfigured connectors used to perform data integration operations.
  • Transformation/Palette toolbar: Palette in Informatica or Transformation toolbar in Talend is the library of all the components. Components are grouped in families as per to their usage and displayed in the palette.
  • PowerCenter workspace/ Design Area: PowerCenter workspace in Informatica or Design Area in Talend is used to design Jobs/Process flow.
  • Work let or Reusable Session/ Job let: These are the reusable set of tasks.

Basis

Informatica

Talend

History

Founded in 1993

Founded in October 2006

Commercial or Open source

Informatica delivers only commercial data integration

Talend delivers various solutions for data integration, both open source and commercial editions

Popularity

It is the most mature ETL product in the market.

It is the most popular open source ETL tool

Pricing

Charges are applicable for single/ multiuser license

Open source edition is available free of cost.

Platform

Informatica generates metadata which is stored in RDBMS repository; it does not generate any code

Talend generates native Java code which permits you to run it on any platform that supports Java

Custom codes

Integrating custom code using Java transformation is not very efficient

Custom code can be written very efficiently 

Learning

Easy to learn and use the tool with restricted knowledge. Even the business users can understand the mapping and logic applied 

Requires Java knowledge

Deployment

Deployment automation has to be improved 

Ease of deployment

Re-usability

Transformations are reusable

Reusable components can be generated 

Scheduling

It is probable to schedule jobs using server manager

Open source edition does not support job scheduling, but commercial edition does with TAC (Talend Administration Console)

Parallelism

It supports parallelism and multiple mapping sessions can be executed on the same server

Talend supports parallelism with commercial edition, but not with open source edition. 

Backup & Recovery

Backup and recovery can be done with a repository manager.

No such feature exists in open source

Informatica PowerCenter vs Talend

The best thing about Talend is the ease of use and ease of deployment. At the background, it uses Java coding, so whatever you do in the interface is easily visible under the code. Packaging and arrangement of code are easy too in any environment (Windows or Mac or Linux) with any version with Java compatibility. The Talend Administration Console (TAC) is an amazing place to schedule and monitor the jobs. It being an open source software, one can download it from the Talend website and start exploring it at any time. Talend only needs JVM to run its code. In the world of cloud, people want their Web solutions to have DB, applications, and ETL on the same server in order to avoid network latency and traffic. This further makes Talend’s future bright.

It is also Cost-effective, easy to customize, has lots of built-in adapters easily available, offers ease of deployment and provides data quality features and allows us to write customized queries. However, Scheduling feature is not available with open source edition and backup and recovery feature is also not available.

Informatica: It is the most commonly used tool with the capability to connect and fetch data from heterogeneous sources. It is available in three different editions namely: Standard, advanced and Premium. It is the Data Integration Product leader as per the Gartner Magic Quadrant Listing. It also provides highly reliable, bug-free solutions. Dynamic Partitioning can also be done using Informatica. It is a highly efficient and reliable tool, easily expandable, stable, supports most of the industry standard data types, efficient to handle complex lookup transformations, supports multiuser client-server development interface and is easy to use and learn. However, It does not have the feature of Data Quality and it needs to be handled programmatically. It also does not have any web integration feature. PowerCenter does not generate code. Thus, all the mappings developed are in the form of GUI Interface.

Conclusion – Talend Vs Informatica PowerCenter

Considering all the features of Talend and Informatica PowerCenter, we can safely assert that both tools allow the same task of transformation and data integration. However, Informatica is vastly specialized in ETL and Data integration. It is the market leader in ETL domain. However, if you want to go for open source and you are familiar with Java then Talend is the go to tool for you. It is more affordable than Informatica with regard to cost, training and resource allocation. Also, it is up to date on Big Data Technologies like Spark, Hive, AWS etc.

Every company these days processes a huge set of data. The data comes from different sources and needs to be processed to give insightful information for making critical business decisions.

Informatica PowerCenter vs Talend:  Both tools are doing primarily the same thing — moving data from source to target but they go about accomplishing it in different ways. Both approaches have their own pros and cons. It is important to understand these merits and demerits before designing your ETL job.

The first thing that we need to understand is that even though both tools have a graphical user interface and both of them extract data from sources, transform and load it to a target, their workings are different. Talend generates native Java code permitting you to run it anywhere. PowerCenter, on the other hand, generates metadata which is stored in a RDBMS repository that their proprietary engines use to run.

It is also important to understand that since Talend is a code generator, it can run both as an ETL (running on its own separate server) or as ELT (running natively on the target server) engine. The Java code which is generated by Talend can be run on any platform which supports Java — it could be on a server housing in your data center, on the cloud or even running on a laptop. While both platforms provide components that handle majority of the tasks needed for data integration, there are situations where something customized is required. This often leads to some custom coding which is a difficult and inefficient process to do using PowerCenter. Yet in Talend one can build their own custom components in Java and integrate them into the studio without any annoyance. These are important points to consider while you design your data integration job.

An easy to use tool used in 70% of organizations for ETL functionalities, Informatica supports all the steps of extraction, transformation and load process and is now days being used as an integration tool as well. It has got a simple visual interface like forms in visual basic. With the ability to move huge volumes of data in an effective manner, it can also throttle the transactions (do big updates in small chunks to avoid long locking and filling the transactional log). All in all, Informatica has got the ability to effectively integrate heterogeneous data sources and convert raw data into useful information. Are you looking for Informatica Training in Pune?

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Sameer Raut

I am a professional Coach who loves to teach technical courses like python, dot net, C language, etc. I love to write articles and blogs on Technology, which is related to my profession. I am too passionate about spreading my knowledge & tips across the world. Currently, I am owner at Learn Well Technocraft which provides coaching services like hadoop training, aws training, .net classes, Advanced Java Programming Training In Pune.
https://www.dw-learnwell.com

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