August 2008

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Trends and Applications

Data Integration (DI) technology, (specifically, extract, transform, and load (ETL) middleware), when combined with an intermediate data store such as a warehouse or mart, have played key roles in advancing business intelligence (BI) and performance management since the mid-1990s. Virtualized DI evolved from these technologies in the mid-2000s. Alternatively known as virtual data federation or enterprise information integration (EII), virtual DI eliminates the intermediate data store by leveraging high-performance query techniques that let the consuming application pull data directly from the source, in real time.

Embarcadero Technologies, a provider of multi-platform tools that companies use to design, develop and manage databases and the data they contain, was acquired by Thoma Cressey Bravo a little more than a year ago in a $200 million go-private transaction. One year later, Embarcadero completed the purchase of CodeGear from Borland Software Corp. for approximately $24.5 million. DBTA talked with Wayne Williams, CEO of Embarcadero, about how the companies fit together to provide system-wide capabilities and also how in a larger sense the worlds of application and database development are converging.

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo once said, "Situational variables can exert powerful influences over human behavior, more so than we recognize or acknowledge." That certainly appears to be true when we look at how we work with people who provide services to us in our personal lives versus those who do it in the business world. In our personal lives, we tend to hire specialists. Yet, in the business world we always seem to want to take the "holistic" route, i.e., find that one supplier who can do everything for us.

Any system needs to be tested. And it's a simple fact that testing is better done by people independent of the system being tested. A different perspective can often highlight new areas of weakness, and there is no conflict of interest in managing a "pass."

When you pick up the morning paper or turn on the news, you don't expect to be reading or listening to a story about your credit or debit card information being at risk. However, recent events indicate - as illustrated by the announcement of security breaches at the Hannaford supermarket chain and the Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont - this will become an all too common event.