by Rob Karel.

IBM today announced plans to acquire DataMirror, a firm specializing in real-time changed data capture (CDC) and replication technologies. This is a great move for both companies, and will ultimately be a valuable option for customers of IBM’s Information Server.

IBM wins because it fills in a significant gap in its real-time heterogeneous data integration story — specifically the ability to enable log-based CDC techniques for sources that are not DB2.  (IBM was a Leader in the recent Forrester Wave evaluating Enterprise ETL, but they were behind some of their primary competitors in its support for CDC). CDC is an attractive data integration technique for scenarios in which operational data is needed on a more real-time basis and the intrusiveness on source system performance of a typical ETL extraction is not an option. Log-based CDC ensures minimal, if any, impact on the performance of the operational source systems. IBM also now has a more compelling data replication and availability portfolio.

DataMirror and its employees are also winners here because their successful, yet niche, integration capabilities can now be joined with the much more robust information management platform that IBM’s Information Server, and overarching Information On-Demand strategy can offer. IBM estimates that approximately 60% of DataMirror’s 2,200 customers are also IBM customers. This should ease the transition and be welcome news to at least some of these customers.

What’s next? Once the acquisition closes, I’ll look forward to hearing IBM’s plans for integrating DataMirror technology into its portfolio. For now, I’m on the lookout for:

  • A standalone offering within the Information Server portfolio (to support the standalone replication/availability market primarily).
  • Integration with WebSphere Metadata Server — first using MetaBrokers (import/export), and then hopefully using Metadata Server as the foundation for the next evolution of DataMirror’s product.
  • Seamless integration with DataStage so that DataStage developers can select “CDC” as a technique within their design flow without having to open a separate product. 
    Support for additional non-IBM sources. DataMirror significantly expands IBM’s heterogeneous connectivity to non-IBM sources, but IBM will need to continue to either partner, acquire, or develop connectivity to other non-supported sources.
  • IBM portfolio integration. The DataMirror technology will be of significant value to IBM’s Dynamic Warehousing, MDM, and SOA solutions.