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IBM integrates Ascential

By year-end, Big Blue hopes to have built closer ties between Ascential tools and IBM's data integration wares.

IBM on Thursday is expected to begin a beta test program for its data-integration software, including the flagship product of recently acquired Ascential Software.

Big Blue bought Ascential in March for $1.1 billion and said that it intends to meld the company's software into IBM's existing line. Ascential's data integration programs are used to transport and "clean," or format, corporate data so that it can be stored in a single place and analyzed.

Through the purchase, IBM gained one product already under development, code-named Hawk. IBM has started to build ties between Hawk and integration software that it already had under development, code-named Serrano.

Ascential's software is primarily used to take data from multiple sources and compile it into a single place in order to analyze trends and generate reports.

By contrast, IBM's Serrano software, which will be an update to its WebSphere Information Integrator product, is designed for querying data sources at the same time, without having to consolidate information into a single place.

The two approaches are appealing for different uses and allow companies to query stored information as well transactional data used in operational systems, said Mark Register, vice president of marketing for information integration solutions at IBM.

Both Hawk and Serrano will enter beta testing this week and be available by the end of year, Register said.

With those releases, both products will be able to share metadata, or information that describes the contents and location of stored information. Having a single method for storing metadata will simplify management of data systems, Register said.