IBM has unveiled beta releases of the first two products from its Xperanto federated data integration project: DB2 Information Integrator and DB2 Information Integrator for Content.
The two products are intended to help customers access, integrate, and analyse all forms of information across and beyond the enterprise, and will be important to IBM's On Demand e-business initiatives, the company said.
While Information Integrator uses a SQL interface, Integrator for Content uses an object-oriented programming model for handling content in forms such as Java Beans or C++ objects.
"They both provide access to information sources, relational and non-relational," said Janet Perna, general manager of data management at IBM.
"The main goal here is really to reduce the cost to customers of integrating information," Perna said.
Xperanto products will reduce the amount of hand coding users will have to do to integrate disparate data sources. "With this in [customers'] hands, It'll cut in half the time it takes to program applications to access [and] integrate data sources."
Although users will not need IBM's DB2 database to make the products function, the offerings are based on IBM's DB2 database optimiser technology for optimising data integration, and also on IBM's federated database technology, which enables joining of data from multiple sources.
"The federation enables you to join data in different databases and different systems as if they were in one place," Perna said. "It's like a distributed request."
IBM is positioning the products as useful for applications such as customer relationship management, where call centre operators need to pull together information about customers from multiple databases as well as in unstructured sources such as e-mail messages. XML documents also can be integrated.
The multiplatform technology will run on systems ranging from Hewlett-Packard and Sun hardware to Linux and Windows and IBM's own AIX and mainframes.
Software from multiple suppliers can be integrated via the products, including relational and non-relational data sources such as documents and images. Web services-based data, such as a real-time stock feed, also could be integrated via Xperanto products.