Not a straight answer. First of all, let’s be really honest hear, the core players in the ETL marketspace all support heterogenous data connectivity, so I would say this isn’t a strong differentiator. You wouldn’t be a key player in the ETL market unless you had heterogenous data connectivity. All major players also have real-time and batch and even on-demand (ETL process invoked by supporting SOA), so that is not a differentiator. Saying that “Data Integrator runs on Oracle Fusion Middleware and is 100% Java-based makes it the right choice for folks looking to build a service-oriented architecture (SOA)” is also not quite right. Making something 100% java doesn’t mean it is SOA ready. For example, what if a developer wants to invoke a data integration process via EJB or HTTPS? As long as the solution supports neutral bindings like bindings for EJB, HTTPS, XML/SOAP it doesn’t matter if the tool is based on Java or not.
Key differentiators in the ETL space include.
1. Support for open standards and open interface along with capabilities to easily extend the product by novices.
2. Scalability, Security and Ability To Recover From Failures. On the scalability front, the ability to run processes in parallel across distributed and grid infrastructure to support the the largest data volumes in the enterprise. Terabytes, not megabytes.
3. Supports the end-to-end process of the complete data integration lifecycle where the data integration platform MUST include Data Profiling, Data Quality and robust Metadata management capabilities. If you are going to extract, transform and move data, then you should be able to first profile the data to make sure it is the proper data and you should be able to then apply data quality processes and rules to the data as it moves to the warehouse.
4. Change Management thru Metadata. What happens when data sources change? Typically, an ETL processes without core metadata management capaiblities will break. However, with a strong metadata management framework, the ETL professional can run impact analysis and lineage for getting information like “where used”. This helps with managing the change process just to name a few of the key attributes of a metadata management system as part of the ETL solution.
5. Business Glossary. A key diffentiator of an ETL solution is one that employs a business glossary so that users and IT professionals agree upon the “meaning of things” The business glossary is part of the Metadata management framework. Think of it as wikipedia for your data and metadata.
Hope this helps others understand the true differentiators one must look for in an enterprise data integration platform.