IBM Hawkish on new Information Server

The successor to the Hawk data integration project has been revealed

IBM has provided pricing details and a new name for its data integration technology, formerly code-named “Hawk”, which it acquired through its acquisition of Ascential last year.

The project has been renamed Information Server and IBM plans to make the data integration software generally available next month with entry-level configuration pricing starting at $100,000 (NZ$150,000). Around 75 IBM customers have been beta testing the product over the past several months, according to company executives, and more than 35 partners have announced their support for the platform, including Cognos, Intel and Sun Microsystems.

IBM unveiled Information Server during its Information On Demand conference in California earlier this month.

It is positioning the offering as ready to lead the field in understanding, cleansing, transforming and delivering reliable, in-context information that had been previously scattered across organisations. The product should also function as an important building block for users looking to adopt the service-oriented architecture approach for creating reusable web applications and services, the IBM executives say.

“A whole new category and industry will develop around it,” says Tom Inman, vice president of marketing at IBM’s information management unit. Much in the same way that application server and portal server industry segments have emerged over the past few years, IBM expects an information server market to develop, he says.

Information Server will ship with a copy of IBM’s DB2 database and its Application Server, but the product can be used with third-party offerings as well, according to Pete Fiore, IBM’s vice president of information integration solutions.

The product is a set of components so customers “can purchase as much or as little as they need”, he says. However, Fiore stresses that Information Server is more than a simple software bundle. IBM has fully rearchitected the technologies it gained from Ascential and automated as many common data integration tasks as possible, he says.

The news on Information Server builds on an announcement IBM made back in February when it pledged to invest an additional US$1 billion in data management software and services, Inman says.

The evolution of Information Server will be “a journey”, says Ambuj Goyal, general manager of IBM’s information management business. Customers will determine what future functionality will be included such as unstructured search capabilities. “This is a starting point,” he says. “We’ll keep adding to Information Server.”

IBM also talked about other products that can be layered on top of Information Server, including the latest release of its master data management software, WebSphere Customer Centre 7.0. IBM also introduced a data warehouse software, server and storage bundle for Linux-based organisations called the IBM Data Warehousing Balanced Configuration Unit for Linux (BCU). The company additionally previewed the next major release of its Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) database due out next year and code-named “Cheetah”.

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