Based on a research project called Xperanto, IBM's DB2 Information Integrator is designed to fetch information from many data sources all at once, from sales records to documents stored in e-mail servers. The company plans to begin a test program for the software, which is built on top of IBM's DB2 database, in the first half of this year.
As, the DB2 Information Integrator server and related programming tools are expected to simplify the creation of applications that draw on disparate databases. The product also aims to allow companies to use a single tool to tap into both relational databases and "unstructured" data of documents and media files, IBM representatives said.
"There's a huge movement to replace analog information on paper or microfiche and digitize it. Companies are doing it because it's more cost-effective to store, easier to access and easier to recover," said Janet Perna, general manager of IBM's data management software group. "Today, companies are either not leveraging their information or they spend their budget hand-coding adapters every time they want to add another data source."
Analysts said customer service applications would be good candidates for products, like DB2 Information Integrator, that fit into a software category called enterprise information integration. For example, when a customer phones into a call center, the data integration server could pull data from several far-flung systems, such as a sales application and product database, to help respond to a customer query.
DB2 Information Integrator will come in two versions. A programmer version will be targeted at database developers familiar with the widely used Structured Query Language (SQL). IBM will enhance the programming capabilities to search for data using XML-based XQuery language.
DB2 Information Integrator for Content is geared for content management applications that tie together documents, media files and other unstructured data.