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Informatica PowerCenter OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Informatica PowerCenter is #1 ranked solution in top Data Integration Tools and #2 ranked solution in top Data Visualization tools. PeerSpot users give Informatica PowerCenter an average rating of 7.8 out of 10. Informatica PowerCenter is most commonly compared to Informatica Cloud Data Integration: Informatica PowerCenter vs Informatica Cloud Data Integration. Informatica PowerCenter is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 75% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 20% of all views.
Informatica PowerCenter Buyer's Guide

Download the Informatica PowerCenter Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022

What is Informatica PowerCenter?

Enterprise data integration platform to help organizations access, transform, and integrate data from a variety of systems.

Informatica PowerCenter was previously known as PowerCenter.

Informatica PowerCenter Customers

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, LexisNexis, Rabobank

Informatica PowerCenter Video

Archived Informatica PowerCenter Reviews (more than two years old)

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Associate Director at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Good performance with easy to use interface; good documentation provided
Pros and Cons
  • "Good interface, reasonable documentation."
  • "Lacks ability to calculate cost of the product."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for building data warehouses for clients with data visualization tools. We need to pull data from other sources so we use Informatica as the ETL. The solution is generally deployed on-prem but sometimes on cloud. 

What is most valuable?

The solution provides good performance with an easy to use interface and reasonable documentation.

What needs improvement?

One of the things that I found lacking is that there should be some sort of a calculator where you can input your requirements regarding the number of data switches required, number of users, and the number of data switches in order to get a general idea of cost. It would save me time rather than having to run to the company to get the information. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stabl. 

Buyer's Guide
Informatica PowerCenter
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about Informatica PowerCenter. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable solution. 

How are customer service and support?

I haven't had any issues with technical support. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is an expensive solution.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Database Administrator and Applications Specialist at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Utilized to ease and speed up building integrations between applications

What is our primary use case?

Integration between different applications, such as Hospital Information Systems built on AS400 and in-house legacy. It is old data structure file based as opposed to relational. Therefore, it was very difficult to connect and integrate with other new applications. We used Informatica to read from our Hospital Information System and transform the data into a relational model in order to speed up reporting and do cleansing of the data. We also used Informatica to integrate SQL Server based applications with our Oracle applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Ease and speed of building integrations, especially integrations between different applications, such as our Hospital Information System. 

What is most valuable?

The GUI.

For how long have I used the solution?

10 years.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

No.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Its maintenance is expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, we evaluated SSIS and IBM. We also looked at additional features in Informatica.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Informatica PowerCenter
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about Informatica PowerCenter. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.
AmanyEldaly - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A helpful solution for data integration with good technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "The partitioning and optimization to help enhance our development is a very valuable aspect of Informatica PowerCenter."
  • "The multiple interfaces in Informatica PowerCenter are not great for the user experience. Because of this, I think it can cause confusion for any beginner developer."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary uses of the solution are for data integration and to build a warehouse model.

What is most valuable?

The solution is a very helpful product for data integration.

The partitioning and optimization to help enhance our development is a very valuable aspect of Informatica PowerCenter. There are multiple transformations for service consumers to publish and use web services as well,In addition to the ability to implement ETL and ELT n a very easy way and finally, you have structured data for use in an integrated business intelligence solution.

What needs improvement?

The multiple interfaces in Informatica PowerCenter are not great for the user experience. Because of this, I think it can cause confusion for any beginner developer.

When we are dealing with multiple transformations and mapping, we cannot see the flow of our transformation until we run reports. It is not like Informatica Developer, where we can see every step of what we're doing and the flow of the mapping. With those solutions, we can see data and transformation and how it's affected by our expressions or anything we do. In Informatica PowerCenter, we cannot see any data in the transformation until the end or you may need to do some debugging, and it is very confusing for some people. They need to enhance their viewer so we can see data within the transformation and show the affected data. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had a problem with Informatica PowerCenter's stability until recently. Sometimes it's very slow. I don't know why, but recently, the development has been very slow. I'm not sure if this is related to stability, however.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is good for scalability because it can be supplemented by a Data Quality solution ,Also, if our organization needs the scale increased, Informatica can satisfy this need, because it can deal with different types of sources and a huge amount of data. The features in partitioning and data optimization that Informatica uses make it very powerful.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been very helpful. Whenever we have a problem, they are able to solve it.

How was the initial setup?

Informatica platform installation was straightforward, just If the prerequisites checks done successfully, it will be very easy to do.

What other advice do I have?

I'm working with a lot of Informatica products. I use Informatica PowerCenter and IDQ as well as Informatica Axon.

In terms of Informatica Powercenter, we're not using the cloud. We have it running on our own servers.

Overall, I find that it's a very helpful product and a powerful tool compared to other products.

I would rate this solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
PeerSpot user
Senior Associate at a tech consulting company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Good ETL capabilities offered by the Data Lake feature

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for ETL of a US Law Enforcement agency's data sources to a data warehouse.

How has it helped my organization?

Using this solution has given us better performance than just purely using PL/SQL.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the new Data Lake feature, which provides the basic capabilities needed.

What needs improvement?

I found it is kind of weird that not all of the mapping changes are treated as true changes.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Kirill Slivchikov - PeerSpot reviewer
Owner at 7Spring Consult
Real User
Integrates well and assists with ETL transformation tasks
Pros and Cons
  • "The most complex task, in this case, was to read and transform BLOB data, and Java transformation in Informatica Power Center was a great solution."
  • "Include more instruments for LOGs analysis, interpretation, and job corrections."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for this solution is at a Russian bank.

The goal was to integrate DWH with a banking core system that used Pervasive SQL 2000 DB. The bank as our client in the field of Data Warehousing asked us to extract data from their core banking system and build a Data Mart for preparation of regulatory reports.

How has it helped my organization?

Informatica PowerCenter moved forward the technology level of ETL-process management of the bank with visualization and standardization of ETL development instead of a huge volume of scripting used previously. Moreover, the task of integration of systems based on different technology platforms was successfully solved.

What is most valuable?

The most complex task, in this case, was to read and transform BLOB data, and Java transformation in Informatica Power Center was a great solution. The second task that was solved with Java transformation was the correct transformation of the Amount field (each amount in PSQL 2000 is stored in three different fields). These tasks were solved by using PSQL 2000 Java SDK library imported to Informatica PowerCenter Java Transformation.

What needs improvement?

I hope that the next release of this solution will:

  • Work with HADOOP and other BigData solutions.
  • Have an ability to compile code to run it quicker.
  • Include new features for parallel job execution.
  • Include more instruments for LOGs analysis, interpretation, and job corrections.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It works stably but needs a dedicated professional admin in the project team.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable and can be supplemented by a Data Quality solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We used the vendor's distant support and the expertise was excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As we are a consulting and data management company, the instruments we have to use during the project are chosen by our customers.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented this solution at the customer's site as consultants. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are also using IBM DataStage, Oracle Data Integrator, SAP Data Services. From project to project it's up to the customer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
MohamedKhamis - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Scientist at IME
Reseller
Informatica PowerCenter mainly performs ETL that is able to extract transform load from a variety of data sources and it has a good GUI interface.
Pros and Cons
  • "Technical support, and their approach is good. They have a support portal and support tickets. If you open a ticket it has multiple levels of severity from level one to very high or critical."
  • "The licensing cost for Informatica is very high. Other all-in-one solutions have much lower prices than Informatica."

What is our primary use case?

ETL ; Extract Transform Load from data base to data warehouse based on specific business rules.

How has it helped my organization?

Informatica PowerCenter satisfies our customers need; thus making Extract Transform Load from data base to data warehouse based on specific business rules.

What is most valuable?

There are two valuable features. The first is the main typical functionality that the PowerCenter gives, that is the ETL. The ETL is able to extract transform load from/to a variety of sources, like Oracle, Microsoft's SQL Server, and Big Data. 

The second is the capabilities of the GUI interface; drag and drop solution. 

It's a powerful tool and might be the first ETL tool based on Gartner to extract, transform, and load data operations.

What needs improvement?

The licensing cost for Informatica is very high. Other all-in-one solutions offer much lower prices. 

Also, sometimes with data capture, the solution doesn't support some data types so you must find an alternative, Informatica Data Replication, for instance. You end up buying two very expensive products to get just a little bit more functionality. They need to offer an all-in-one package.

I'd like Informatica to provide more use cases. We have a huge knowledge base, but use cases in specific domains like healthcare, banking, and financial transactions would be helpful. There are some tools that exist for making predictions in different domains. I want something like that in Informatica so we can see use cases that showcase better management, better quality, and better governance, in different domains.

The solution needs better support and training. Informatica can do a better job in making it clear at the beginning what is supported and not supported, and what the licenses include and do not include. That way we are better able to communicate with the clients and to get assistance from support. It would also save us time in raising issues with support if we knew what was covered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is mainly written in Java programming language. If someone is working as a data engineer and he is not from a computer science background, he may fear there are some errors, specifically in Java packages that Informatica has built. It is not yet stable, but some hotfixes in the big data edition of Informatica, in versions 10 and 10.1, work well to patch any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable but at the same time, it is very expensive. It's a scalable platform and is distributed, but on the other hand, you have to pay for many separate things. For instance, a real-time integration like a cloud connector for grabbing data from the cloud may be advantageous, but the disadvantage is that the whole package would cost a very huge amount of money for the license. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support and their approach is good. They have a support portal and support tickets. If you open a ticket it has multiple levels of severity from level one to very high or critical. 

Also, you can buy a support policy for 24/7 support. 

Sometimes, we've had issues where customers complain so we have to keep pressuring support and escalating the matter to upper management to get things fixed in a timely fashion. However, this doesn't happen too often. The process as a whole is good.

What other advice do I have?

Our company has many locations, in the Middle East and Africa, but we're mostly based in Cairo, and have about 100 engineers using the solution.

In terms of advice, I would give to others considering using the solution, I'd say this: they should start with a datasheet of every product on Informatica. Licensing is expensive, so you should study the needs of the customer or your business and make a compliance matrix between the products and what the company needs. You'll run into big problems if your customer's needs aren't met in the Informatica products you choose.

I would rate the solution at a seven or eight out of ten. They're still far away from offering a holistic solution for better management, and there can be more enhancements in use cases, but it's a good solution.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
PeerSpot user
it_user785520 - PeerSpot reviewer
Regional Manager at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
MSP
A scalable solution with a good interface that's easy to set up

What is most valuable?

The stability of the solution is one of its best features. The user interface is also very good.

What needs improvement?

The cost and set up of the licenses could be improved. You need a lot of different licenses, depending on your setup, and it gets expensive. For example, we're connected with Oracle, be we need licenses for that plus the core server, Terradata, etc. It gets costly.

There's also a feature that exists on IBM DataStage called CDC. It's not on Informatica PowerCenter, but if they could add a feature similar to this in the next release, it would be useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easy to scale the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't get in touch with technical support very often, but I would rate them as medium in their level of efficiency in dealing with issues. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises version of the solution.

I'm a consultant, and I largely work with enterprises.

I would recommend the product for integration. It's one of the best tools in the integration field.

I would rate this solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
PeerSpot user
Senior ETL Developer at Office of State Revenue
Real User
The graphical design is easy to understand and it is user-friendly
Pros and Cons
  • "The features I find most valuable is that the solution is very user-friendly and the graphical design is very easy to understand."
  • "I would like to see an improvement in the digital adoption."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for Informatica PowerCenter is for insurance and enterprise data warehouse creation.

What is most valuable?

The features I find most valuable is that the solution is very user-friendly and the graphical design is very easy to understand.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see an improvement in the digital adoption. It would be nice if they could be cheaper, because the training is very expensive as they do everything online.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using this solution for about nine years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Compared to other solutions, Informatica PowerCenter is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. They have a cloud version for a small company. So nowadays start-ups or small companies are using the cloud version, while the big companies like banks and insurance companies are using the full-fledged enterprise version. We have about 100 users in our company and we plan to increase our usage of Informatica PowerCenter.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very, very good. They make sure to come on site and help us to fix any issues we may have.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used a Microsoft solution but that was not very scalable. That is why we switched to Informatica, as it is much more scalable. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really straightforward and easy and it took us about 15 minutes. Three people are enough to do the maintenance. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate this solution an eight out of ten and I will recommend others to use it, even though it is a little expensive, compared to other solutions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Ricardo Pedro - PeerSpot reviewer
Solutions & Achitecture Data Analyst Specialist at a construction company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Assists us with integration as we migrate from on-premise to cloud, but it needs a performance analyzer
Pros and Cons
  • "In the end, you have structured, proper data for use in an integrated BI solution."
  • "Integration with Artificial Intelligence would benefit this solution."

What is our primary use case?

We are implementing our master data management integration solution. The idea is to have the data cleaned, and have a catalog set up so that we have a library we can consult to see what type of data is being used. At the same time, have a tool to provide a three hundred and sixty-degree view of our customer data. We will also have a unique repository and a data link that we're setting up in Azure.

We will be moving all of our storage to the cloud so that we have a single repository, and this data will be accessible by our tools such as Tableau, for integration with our reporting. 

Currently, we are in a hybrid-cloud environment, but our intention is to be cloud-based using Azure.

What is most valuable?

The two most important components are the building and integration. On top of that, you can clean and analyze your data to make sure that you don't have any corruption. In the end, you have structured, proper data for use in an integrated BI solution.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the inclusion of a tool that allows you to report performance metrics. For example, it can determine whether the connectivity is correct, or how long it's taking the integration to move data from one place to another. This would allow administrators to govern the performance and better maintain the solution. Having a tool that can work is nice, but we're not sure if it works accurately without something to evaluate performance.

Integration with Artificial Intelligence would benefit this solution. The system should start to learn the behavior of your connections, and understand where your data is coming from to ensure that the process is being done correctly. As the system learns the stages, it will be able to easily identify problems. For example, if I have different databases where I want to store information, such as pictures in one and PDF files in another, it will be able to distinguish that.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for less than one year and are still pre-production.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are still launching this solution so I cannot tell you if it is stable or not. We believe that with the support and resources we are getting, it will be. Our vision is to be as stable as possible, and we do not want to lose any data.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We performed some testing with our Asian platform and it was working fine. We are working in several countries at the same time, integrating their products, and we are hoping that it goes as smoothly as the one from Asia. This tool should allow us to scale, but we will have to wait and see.

We have between fifty and sixty people using this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Informatica is assisting us with the implementation and they know what we are trying to accomplish. They have visibility as to what our company does, and having people like that helps a lot. Overall, at the moment we are very happy with the support and their contribution.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have another solution in place before this. We knew that it was something that we needed to do. Since we are moving from on-premise to the cloud, we needed something to help us with the integration.

What about the implementation team?

We hired somebody from Informatica to help us with the implementation. We have no complaints about their service.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Choosing this solution was a little bit complex for us because there are a lot of different vendors in that space. We had to do a proper evaluation and negotiation to get to the solution that we needed. Some vendors offer a certain package, whereas others offer another package, and there are certain components from one vendor that we needed in the other one. There is where the complexity came from. In the end, we choose the one that we thought was the proper solution for us.

What other advice do I have?

There is a lot of competition in the space, and the vendors want to get good companies where they can implement their solution. It doesn't mean that every product fits every organization. My advice for anybody researching this type of solution is to meet with all of the vendors, discuss the proof of concept based on what the company has, and see if the solution is really the proper one for them. The vendors need to be honest in evaluating whether the product can really fit the needs, and they should be able to justify it.

Overall, we are satisfied with the product so far, as well as the support. In any tool, there's always something to chase and always something that can be done better.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user1119516 - PeerSpot reviewer
Project Manager at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Good performance, but it has issues with connecting to big data sources
Pros and Cons
  • "The performance and design of Informatica have been very valuable. I find the performance faster than, say, Oracle Data Integrator or DataStage."
  • "As a connector to big data, it is not well developed. We've had problems connecting Informatica with Hadoop. The functionality to connect Informatica with Hadoop, for me it's not good."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for data integration.

What is most valuable?

The performance and design of Informatica have been very valuable. I find the performance faster than, Oracle Data Integrator or DataStage.

What needs improvement?

As a connector to big data, it is not well developed. We've had problems connecting Informatica with Hadoop. The functionality to connect Informatica with Hadoop is not good. Right now, we use Informatica to connect with the tools of big data. We have been able to connect Informatica with Teradata. I use Informatica to integrate the data of Teradata. Although we have a lot of functionality in Teradata, when you use Informatica as a connector, the compatibility with Teradata and Informatica it's not sufficient.

In future releases, they need to have a good version of the cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five years.

What other advice do I have?

We run the solution on our servers, not the cloud.

I would rate this solution seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user1030422 - PeerSpot reviewer
Director of Innovation & Development Department at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Good user interface and the most user-friendly of all data integration tools
Pros and Cons
  • "Technical support is great. It's one of the reasons we really like them. When you compare support from IBM and support from Informatica, Informatica is much better."
  • "Now they are migrating to a new version, and they have something that is called Informatica Developer. Previously, they just had PowerCenter. Now, when they move everything to Informatica Developer it's not as good or stable like it was when it was PowerCenter, though it has some nice features. This Developer tool could be better."

What is most valuable?

The solution has the best user interface and it's the most user-friendly of all data integration tools.

What needs improvement?

Now they are migrating to a new version, and they have something that is called Informatica Developer. Previously, they just had PowerCenter. Now, when they move everything to Informatica Developer it's not as good or stable like it was when it was PowerCenter, though it has some nice features. 

I would like the solution to offer better metadata management. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is really stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For scalability, all you have to do is buy licenses for more cores, so it's about licensing. If you want to add more CPU cores you have to pay more licensing. All of the providers of ETL tools have different licensing models, and it's something that is typical. So, if you have to process more data then you have to pay for more licenses. That's natural. 

We have about 50 users and they're developers and consultants.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. It's one of the reasons we really like them. When you compare support from IBM and support from Informatica. Informatica is much better.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is very easy. It's straightforward. They have really good manuals. They have a great installation manual. They have user manuals as well, so you just have to follow instructions. Everything is fine.

What about the implementation team?

Usually, we have system administrators do the implementation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Price-wise, it's more expensive than SSIS, but it's a better tool, so it has more features. Licensing is on a yearly basis.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at IBM DataStage, Microsoft SSIS, and Oracle Data Integrator.

What other advice do I have?

We have some projects on call. I work for a professional services company, so we have different clients that have different types of infrastructure. For us in our region, most of the clients have an on-premise infrastructure. Usually, we have on-premise deployments.

I would recommend this solution to others.

I would rate this solution nine out of ten. It's almost perfect.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
PeerSpot user
it_user1080720 - PeerSpot reviewer
ETL Reporting Analytics Consultant at Accenture
Real User
Verifies and Validates incoming data according to our own business rules

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to process semi-structured and structured files using business rules to create CSV files for data warehouse loading and reporting.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has allowed my client to see the real benefits of dynamically reading the profile to verify the file structures.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the dynamic reading of the file metadata profile, and the ability to define business rules that are used to verify and validate the uploaded files.

What needs improvement?

The developer tool documentation can be enhanced with a more clear explanation of each utility, accompanied by relevant examples, so that developers are able to create programs with ease.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Student at Ontario Ministry of Labour
Real User
Integrated Reporting service should be more smoothly transitioned from view to function. Used to implement our data warehouse, including moving data between FTP, flat file and relational databases.
Pros and Cons
  • "Informatica PowerCenter has been implementing mapping design, data flow, and workflow execution for years."
  • "Integrated Reporting service should be more smoothly transitioned from view to function to be in sync with the main design."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use is to implement our data warehouse, including moving data between FTP, flat file and relational databases, and Domain/Integrated Service designs.

How has it helped my organization?

Informatica PowerCenter has been implementing mapping design, data flow, and workflow execution for years. Informatica administrators are in the scope of daily operations.

What is most valuable?

  • Import from PowerCenter
  • Copy Text between Excel and the Developer Tool
  • Logical Data Object Read and Write Mapping Editing
  • DDL Query
  • Profiles

What needs improvement?

  • XML processing
  • Scheduler
  • Non-limit SQL qualifier embedded (right now 32K limitation)

The Integrated Reporting service should be more smoothly transitioned from view to function to be in sync with the main design.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Vijaya Saduvuv - PeerSpot reviewer
Lead Application Developer and Informatica Administrator at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Works with any multi-database, reduces legacy coding, and is easy to use
Pros and Cons
  • "It reduces a lot of legacy coding."
  • "It works with any multi-databases, so it works with Sybase, SQL Server. Also, the performance is really good and it is easy to use."
  • "The initial setup is not straightforward. You need expertise to do it."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for data integration. It's a great tool.

How has it helped my organization?

It reduces a lot of legacy coding.

What is most valuable?

It works with any multi-database, so it works with Sybase, SQL Server. Also, the performance is really good and it is easy to use.

What needs improvement?

It has everything we want. We were looking for a feature but they have already it in Informatica 10. We are using Informatica 9.6.1 but they added the feature we were thinking about in 10.1.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability, durability, everything. It is the leader in the market.

How is customer service and technical support?

We are using technical support every year, it's part of like maintenance we get from Informatica. Year by year they are improving. They're up to the mark.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not straightforward. You need expertise to do it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing is a one time cost. But maintenance costs depend on what you want, how long you need it. Maintenance is a kind of insurance. With health insurance, you don't know whether you will get sick or need to go to hospital or not but you have to have insurance. It's the same thing with support.

If you have that expertise in resolving issues, if you have enough experience in your IT department, I would say you don't need the support. But in practice, they recommend you go with the support. If you want support you have to pay for it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When you want to convert all your company products into Microsoft, the equivalent to the Informatica product in Microsoft is SSAS. That's where the decision was made to go with the SSAS as the primary option, going forward.

What other advice do I have?

If you are a small company it depends on how much data integration you need. I cannot blindly say you should always go with Informatica because it depends what your needs are and whether you can afford Informatica or not.

I would give Informatica a 10-plus out of 10 because it satisfies all our requirements, it is robust and scalable.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user808662 - PeerSpot reviewer
User at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
UI-based ability to create data mapping
Pros and Cons
  • "Reusable definition of data sources and the out-of-the-box availability of a large number maplets for common transformation functions."
  • "Easy, scalable, robust platform to integrate heterogeneous source platform's data into the unified data warehouse."
  • "UI-based ability to create data mapping."
  • "While Informatica is great for data-integration, it does not have any analytics features. Thus, organizations have to always look for another product for their BI needs."

What is our primary use case?

Data Integration: Integrates heterogeneous source platforms data into the unified data warehouse.

How has it helped my organization?

Easy, scalable, robust platform to integrate heterogeneous source platform's data into the unified data warehouse.

What is most valuable?

Data Integration. The UI-based ability to create data mapping. Also, reusable definition of data sources and the out-of-the-box availability of a large number maplets for common transformation functions.

What needs improvement?

Cost! 

Also, BI features. While Informatica is great for data-integration, it does not have any analytics features. Thus, organizations have to always look for another product for their BI needs.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user793938 - PeerSpot reviewer
Integration developer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Easy to code, provides Data Integration and Data Quality solutions
Pros and Cons
  • "Good product if you are trying implement data quality, data integration, and data management projects."
  • "There can be scalability issues. Huge amounts of data ingestion will impact performance."
  • "We had stability issues, mostly with JVM size."

How has it helped my organization?

We are trying to implement both Finance and Operations modernization with the help of Informatica. This tool is mainly used in data ingestion, where we bring different sources into a Hadoop environment.

What is most valuable?

  • Big Data connectivity, Data Integration solutions, and Data Quality solutions. 
  • Easy to code and understand solutions in Informatica.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yes, we had stability issues, mostly with JVM size.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, there can be scalability issues. Huge amounts of data ingestion will impact performance.

How is customer service and technical support?

I rate tech support seven out of 10.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are a lot of other data integration tools available in the market. Based on our needs we have to choose which is applicable: Talend, SSIS, Ab Initio, DataStage, ODI (Oracle Data Integrator).

What other advice do I have?

Good product if you are trying implement data quality, data integration, and data management projects.

We have a good relationship with the vendor. We get notifications related to new products for user validation and beta release. We have given user experience feedback for Operational Insights tool.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Technology Architect at Broadridge Financial Solutions
Vendor
We were able to overcome all the performance bottlenecks and to standardize the ETL layer.
Pros and Cons
  • "The ability to scale through partitions helped us to improve the performance."
  • "We had to take on a large volume of data from the legacy Sybase system. This was taking a very long time, i.e., more than a day. We were trying to improve it with partitions to gpload, but we were told that we can't go more than four partitions."

What is most valuable?

We are using it to source data from Sybase database and flat files so as to load to the target Greenplum Database. The facility to do parallel load on Greenplum using gpload feature is valuable for us. Also, the ability to scale through partitions helped us to improve the performance.

How has it helped my organization?

We used Informatica PowerCenter for a re-platforming project where the earlier application was using an in-house Java-based ETL, that suffered in terms of the performance and scalability issues. With Informatica PowerCenter, we were able to overcome all the performance bottlenecks and we were able to standardize the ETL layer. The re-platformed application was able to complete the high volume batch data load in minutes, compared to the long hours it took in the old application. In addition, the year-end volume spikes are easily handled by Informatica.

What needs improvement?

In our implementation, for the initial conversion, we had to take on a large volume of data from the legacy Sybase system. This was taking a very long time, i.e., more than a day. We were trying to improve it with partitions to gpload, but we were told that we can't go more than four partitions. This was a limitation then and I am not sure if this has already been improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not many stability issues were experienced.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not many scalability issues were experienced.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good; also, we had engaged professional services during the application development.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The legacy solution was using an in-house Java-based ETL, that had huge problems in scaling for high volume batches. As part of the re-platforming exercise, we switched to Informatica so as to get a more stable and standard solution.

How was the initial setup?

With knowledgable developers, the setup was not complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated the Pentaho solution.

What other advice do I have?

It is a good, scalable solution, provided the infrastructure is taken care of.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user677700 - PeerSpot reviewer
DW Admin at a hospitality company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It collects business information for centralized reporting and analytics.
Pros and Cons
  • "Once you figure it out, it is a powerful and simple ETL tool. Its stability has been very satisfactory."
  • "The UI is outdated and old-fashioned, at least in our current version. Also, we have experienced some stability issues with the Workflow Monitor application."

What is most valuable?

Once you figure it out, it is a powerful and simple ETL tool. Its stability has been very satisfactory.

How has it helped my organization?

Like any other ETL tool, it collects business information for centralized reporting and analytics.

What needs improvement?

The UI is outdated and old-fashioned, at least in our current version. Also, we have experienced some stability issues with the Workflow Monitor application.

For how long have I used the solution?

Our company has used it since 2002, I started using it in 2009.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The integration service itself is very stable. The applications suffer from minor stability problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product scales very well, beyond our needs.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support team is eager to help but the problems that we have faced were usually too complex. However, there has always been a workaround.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our company has always used this solution.

How was the initial setup?

I was personally not involved with the initial setup, but from what I have heard, it was fairly straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have found the pricing very cost-effective. The licensing is CPU and data source-based.

In the new version, it is supposed to allow a variety of data sources with the standard license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved with choosing the product.

What other advice do I have?

Choose the right tool for the right job.

For the purpose that this product was designed, I believe it is still the best in the market.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Lead at Bank of America
Real User
It can work with any kind of database, including NoSQL ones, but when a database object changes then object definitions do not get refreshed automatically.

What is most valuable?

  • Able to access heterogeneous databases: It can work with any kind of database available in the market. In fact, it can be applied to NoSQL databases as well.
  • SQL override allows users to write simple to complex queries inside mapping for performance tuning the load process, pre and post SQL can help control the load process to get desired outputs.
  • Error handling techniques: Informatica provide a suite of options to handle errors. From logging error in database tables to e-mail notifications with log files, to decision/assignment tasks for data control, it can handle error at every stage of workflow. Restart options for batched work-flows.
  • Debugging, is one other feature I found extremely useful. Before running a full load, you can run a subset of data from source-target and check for values generated from logic at every transformation.
  • While in debugger mode Target tables do not load any physical data. The best part of debugging in Informatica is that, in the debugger mode, you can alter logic in expression transformation and check for the value generated from the logic. This will allow you to change logic if it's needed later.
  • Transformations - the types of transformations (SQL Logics) provided are unmatched to any other ETL tool out there. When it comes to using transformations, even a beginner can understand with minimal effort, how to use them or what the expected output will be using that particular transformation. Most of them are self-explanatory, and provide the desired output. Especially Expression Transformation (which is the heart of any mapping).
  • Can be used to build any type of logic with flexibility giving the number of logical functions (date/time/string etc...). Functions have a syntax that is very easy to understand.
  • Informatica provides all the functions indexed in a proper fashion in expressions editor with syntax to allow users to build logic with ease.
  • Version control, as check-in and check-out are easy and allow space for adding comments. These comments can come in handy during deployment when writing queries.

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization had to import data from AS400, implement a sales cost analysis and load data into Data Mart, which was further consumed by QlikView. This was done with data from five different countries in different time zones. From the point of developing mapping, replicating them for other countries given their respective databases to loading the data, everything was automated and scheduled with notification about the loads. It changed the way we did business. Customers orders, modification, and tracking was all smooth. Every morning, we would receive one e-mail with consolidated load statistics and it all starts with one e-mail.

What needs improvement?

There are three areas where they can make a significant improvement:

  1. Live feeds, where if a database object changes then object definitions should automatically get refreshed as well. This would avoid re-import of objects. Auto refresh will effect all the short-cut objects, but ultimately if the object in the database has changed, then the mapping will fail or provide incorrect data given the position of the column or name of the column doesn't exist anymore.
  2. The GUI Interface. Instead of having to open a separate window for Designer, WF Manager and WF Monitor. If these three windows could be merged into three separate tabs or built into the hierarchy of building sub-tasks, for example, workflow opens a session, and the session opens a mapping unlike opening only mapping properties currently, that would be nice. SAP BODS has that structure and I would like to see something along those lines, where I don't have to refresh the mapping and session every time something changes
  3. Version rollback, where version control is a blessing and boon. While the version control is a good feature, sometimes it becomes a huge burden of the database and the Repository should have a way to rollback keeping most current object and purge all other versions.

For how long have I used the solution?

Starting with version 7.1, I have been using Informatica for 7+ years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Deployment can get complicated depending on Queries. Adding proper labels and comments during version control can make Deployment very smooth. I did not come across any technical issues using deployment. Rollback feature adds a lot of value to deployment. With a single click, you can rollback all the objects if you notice any discrepancy with objects between environments.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Informatica is very stable tool. Only a few times, where Informatica server is remotely based, connectivity can be slow at times. I have had a few instances when expression editors gets grayed out when using RDP or Docking Laptop but editing "regedit" file resolved this issue. Otherwise this is a very stable, powerful and robust tool.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Informatica can handle extremely large volumes of data very well. With features like CDC, Incremental Load, Mapping Parameters and variables, dynamic look-up, pre and post SQL, Informatica provides flexibility in handling huge volumes of data with ease. Certainly a lot depends on optimized mappings and work-flows (batching and performance tuning).

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

We've only had to contact customer service twice in 6+ years, and they were very good with their responses and were very professional.

Technical Support:

I would say 9/10. For what I needed, technical support was able to resolve it in timely fashion. I also appreciate their follow-ups.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using a conventional RPG programming tool to do analysis, but every time you add more tables for data analysis, profiling, quality, manipulation, it was turning into pages and pages of code. A user friendly GUI interface like Informatica solution, provided the right kind of solution and was easy to migrate from programming to Informatica.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a conventional data warehouse pattern. Later on, when we started implementing CRM, SCM and ERP it started getting a bit complex. However breaking down projects into multiple data models and organizing

What about the implementation team?

We had a boot-camp training and an Informatica expert onsite for a few months. Later, we picked up a fair amount of technology and started implementing it in-house.

What was our ROI?

Informatica is 100% value for money. The kind of flexibility and stability it offers in dealing with heterogeneous data is amazing.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is not an economical software, but if you are planing for a long term robust end-to-end enterprise level tool that can handle any kind of data, and any type of task relating to BI or data warehousing, it does not require a lot of thinking. You can bank on Informatica for your solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

  • Data Stage

  • Ab Initio

  • MicroStrategy

What other advice do I have?

Informatica is a great product. If you can spend a good amount of time researching what you want,have a proper SDLC in place, and work with the technicality of Informatica, I am sure most of the projects can roll out into production in a timely fashion and produce results. In my experience, not having proper road-map in place, and not auditing change requests, business analysts will struggle with their requirements. This causes more bottlenecks and rework than an actual development. Having said that, no project is a walk in the park, but Informatica can be the icing on the cake if the foundation is good.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user275235 - PeerSpot reviewer
it_user275235Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Lead at Bank of America
Real User

GaryM, I understand that automatic refresh can cause data mapping errors, but identifying the changes, notifying the users and letting the user decide how to apply the changes (update, ignore, create a copy of mapping and edit ...). When the object in DB changes, chances that mapping will fail are high depending on the type of change, why not know about it and prepare for it before hand. Either you need to run a SQL and identify DB changes periodically and apply them in Informatica manually or Informatica identifies them and let's users decide (when repository reconnects).

See all 5 comments
PeerSpot user
Business Intelligence Analyst at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
There were many performance problems during the implementation, but you will be happy with the final result.

What is most valuable?

With this product, we managed to implement all of our ETL, including those with many sources, and complex transformations.

How has it helped my organization?

With this product we can centralize all our ETL needs in one technology. One unique team with the right expertise is responsible for developing, implementing, and tuning it. We eliminated the variety of different solutions and different technologies. This means that the knowledge and skills are not spread-out.

What needs improvement?

One area for improvement is with huge ETLs, where the product has to extract large amounts of information. That's because some sources wait for others inside the map to finish, and only afterwards do they continue extracting data from other sources in the database.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for six years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues encountered.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, but after some errors, the cache directory, where we keep the temp files, fills up, and you have to drop them in manually or have a process to delete unused files periodically.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

A fast SSD disk is needed for better performance to locate the temp files.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

3/10.

Technical Support:

3/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used Oracle Warehouse Builder. We switched because Warehouse Builder generated PL/SQL code and the transformation resided inside the database. With PWC, the transformation is on a different server.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. There were many performance problems and some migrations took a long time to be implemented. After many meetings with different experts both problems were solved.

What about the implementation team?

We used a vendor team, who were 4/10.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also looked at ODI (Oracle data integration).

What other advice do I have?

Be persistent in trying to implement all kinds of transformations with Power Center, you will be happy with the final result.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user202221 - PeerSpot reviewer
it_user202221Business Intelligence Analyst at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor

There is still a lack in this areas, but you can manage to solve that lack:
- The conditional execution is not directly supported. We manage to use a second workflow that write a file under the condition we want. The main workflow wait until the appearance of the file to run and then delete the file, and so on. Also the same written file, or another, can have de parameter for the execution.
- You can have a log file for each mapping execution, and you can set the log level. Also there is a tool to get reports from the repository (which has performance problem). But for some needs we had to write sql over the repository, wich is hard because there is not an easy ER model.
- We don't use the push-down. We design, and develope all our maps without that feature. We made some probes a few months ago and find that it require a re-design to get benefits (which was out of our planning). But we heard that it manage to get really good performance.

See all 2 comments
it_user150912 - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Quality and Conversion with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
As ETL tools in general, it does not include a good data reporting feature.

What is most valuable?

  • The possibility to create a data profiling mapping automatically from any imported source.
  • The client installation includes a macro that can be imported into Excel. This will contains standard documents for technical design and documentation in general. The technical design developed in Excel can be directly imported into Powercenter using Powercenter Repository Manager and the corresponding mapping is automatically created. This can save a lot of development time for simple or not very complex mappings. This feature is called Mapping Analyst for Excel.
  • The default error handling, automatically created, is quite good for those architectures that don't have a proper one or a budget for a custom one.

What needs improvement?

As all ETL tools in general, it does not include a good data reporting feature. Another one is the component called "Union" which includes some bugs:
  • Adding new groups, the field-names are lost
  • Adding new fields, the field type should be reset for all fields in the "Union" or the mapping validation will fail.

There is no possibility of handle non matching records in a "joiner" as in DataStage.

For how long have I used the solution?

4-5 years, different versions.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used other tools like IBM DataStage. The final decision is made by my clients but what I see is that clients using DB2 prefer to use DataStage over Informatica as both (DB2 and DataStage) are IBM products.

How was the initial setup?

Very straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

In-house
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user108354 - PeerSpot reviewer
it_user108354Manager of Data Analytics at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User

Strictly based on my experience with Informatica and DataStage, I find Informatica PowerCenter sufficiently advanced in ETL capability terms. As Informatica proclaims to be leader in data integration, the tool inherently is not designed for reporting requirements. However, it still provides one the best metadata schema, to monitor and report the performance of ETL processes.
Informatica was among the 1st to provide database driven metadata access, providing ease of query-ing & reporting on ETL processes.
With SOA driven architecture and Big data integration in new versions, Informatica continue to maintain lead among choice of ETL platforms.
However, pricing and very large volume (billions of records) processing may be major consideration while planning and deciding about usage of Informatica.

PeerSpot user
Manager of Data Analytics at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Costly yet Effective & Efficient tool for moderate sized DW projects. Performance issues with very large data volumes

Informatica has grown steadily in the data integration domain, ranking in the leaders quadrant of Gartner's analysis. It has been largely in pace with industry demands, serving a large set of requirements through various products. Not surprisingly, Informatica as a Data Integration platform is ahead of many competitors in the domain, with collective force of a product suite strengthening it's position as a leading Data Integration platform.

Here's my assessment of Informatica PowerCenter suite:

  1. Ease of Development is HIGH. Intuitive GUI, along with drag & connect features, bode well for developers when pressed against stringent timelines.
  2. Component Architecture, based on SOA, smoothens scalability and flexibility.
  3. Ease of Integration with nearly all market leading products and application standards, for both Source & Target. Like XML, RDBMS, Message Queues, Flat File, SAP, TIBCO, Mainframe etc.
  4. Seamless integration with many widely used components: shell scripts in UNIX, Stored Procedures, FTP, VSAM, Salesforce.com, Control-M, Maestro, Autosys etc.
  5. Enables Real Time integration and Change Data Capture.
  6. Well organized Community Support, Partner support and documentation.
  7. People availability with relevant skill level for development is comparatively easier.
  8. License cost is reasonably HIGH.
  9. Performs well for DWH of up to Moderate data volumes. When data volume grow beyond millions records per day/ week, performance degrades severely.
  10. Product release cycle is stiff, with frequent upgrades must to maintain relevant support level. Upgrade cost for Data Integration tool is rather tightly budgeted and hence, a challenging ordeal for Infrastructure, Development and Stakeholders.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Consultant at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
PowerCenter Express is not PowerCenter but it's good enough for small development

Informatica unveiled their newest product in the PowerCenter line, the PowerCenter Express, at Informatica World this year (find Smartbridge’s experience of the convention here).

The sales pitch is certainly catchy: Free PowerCenter! First I heard of it, I wasn’t sure what to think – is this a marketing gimmick? What’s the catch? But hey, at that price, it is easy enough to find out by one’s self, and that is precisely what I did. And color me pleasantly surprised.

The Limitations of PowerCenter Express

To their credit, Informatica is upfront with the limitations of the product. This is a good thing – no easier way to shoot yourself in the foot than sneak small print on your clients under a guise of a no-strings-attached free download.

As you could expect, PowerCenter Express is not PowerCenter – the free Express version can only process a quarter of a million rows per day – good enough for small development, but it is best considered a demo version. The paid version includes multi-user support, and removes the processing limitation, but is still limited to five users and no job parallelization.

If your company is already using PowerCenter, you are probably long past the point where you could realistically choose to downsize to Express. But if your company was too small for the behemoth that is PowerCenter, then Express may be exactly what you need.

I suspect that Informatica sees Express as a way to reach to clients that, until now, were too small to warrant their larger products – maybe a way to get them to dip their toe in the waters.

Do not think, however, that this is “PowerCenter lite”. Express is a product on its own right (the paid version, more so than the free). A small-to-medium company that finds itself in need of an ETL can do much worse than invest in Express. Even when I was building PowerCenter ETLs for a large bank, we seldom ran more than two or three medium jobs in parallel – the strain it puts on the source and target is just not worth the time savings – and the larger jobs usually ran on their own.

The lack of parallelization will hit only if you had a large number of small jobs; and even then, serializing them shouldn’t be more than a small inconvenience, although not having faced the actual issue, do take this prediction with a grain of salt.

Express Installation

Grabbing a copy and installing it was simplicity itself. I have always felt that PowerCenter’s greatest strength is its ease of use, beyond even its connectivity. I’m happy to see Informatica expand the ease of use to the installation.

A stand-alone install program is all it takes to be up and running. I was building my first test mapping less than an hour after deciding to download Express, and ran it successfully in less than two hours (it wasn’t a very interesting mapping, admittedly, but it was a reasonably complex join of flat file data against a local database, aggregated and sent to a remote location – the kind of “simple” ETL that has been known to cause me headaches when attempted in unvarnished SQL).

One word of caution: Express is not a toy. Even the free version has a fully functional PowerCenter server. When turned on, my laptop went into permanent spin, and my memory and CPU use climbed several notches. I found myself turning it off just to give my poor laptop a break. It worked for testing, but if you are going to use it to develop an actual ETL, consider installing the server portion on an actual server.

PowerCenter vs. PowerCenter Express

PowerCenter Express is by no means ‘lite’.

As a long time user of PowerCenter, this part is actually tricky to write. How many of the changes are “bad” and how many of them is just me being an old curmudgeon? It’s difficult to say. The good news: you needn’t worry. They did not strip PowerCenter down. Every transformation you can find in “classic” PowerCenter is in Express as well.

Express even includes a bunch of direct connections to social media to speed up your mapping development: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, you name it. And I loved that they finally dropped the “source” and “target” – an unnecessary distinction, when most external entities end up being both. Express automatically assumes that, and the whole is more compact for it.

I am less happy about the lack of Sessions. They are not gone completely – the workflow is still a sequence of objects that are associated to mappings – but without my usual central point for redefining sources and targets, I was left scrambling to find where to do so. I suspect this is more my muscle memory that led me to looking in all the wrong places, though. As always, F1 brought up the help, and once I had read the manual, it became easy again.

There are a few other nits I could pick – I am not entirely convinced I like the new graphics, the ribbon or the “all in one” approach – and I cannot even guess at what other differences I would eventually find, if given enough time, but these are minor.

Express is PowerCenter, and the old approaches to mapping design will still work. It is still visual, intuitive, and easy to use.

So Does Express Pass the Test?

If Express’ name wasn’t attached to Informatica PowerCenter, I’d considered it a basic ETL, with potential for growth and useful mostly for small deployments.

The equation changes, though, when you consider that if you do outgrow the capabilities of Express, you can easily upgrade to PowerCenter. It is an interesting approach, and I could almost say Informatica has managed to square the circle.

This first visit to the tool has proven successful enough that, were I to be required to use Express as the ETL tool, nary a complaint would escape my lips – and those of you that have met me know how rare an occasion that is.

Disclaimer: The company I work for is partners with several vendors including Informatica

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user90069 - PeerSpot reviewer
BI Expert at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Informatica PowerCenter vs. Microsoft SSIS - each technology has its advantages but also have similarities

Technology has made it easier for businesses to organize and manipulate data to get a clearer picture of what’s going on with their business. Notably, ETL tools have made managing huge amounts of data significantly easier and faster, boosting many organizations’ business intelligence operations.

There are many third-party vendors offering ETL solutions, but two of the most popular are PowerCenter Informatica and Microsoft SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services). Each technology has its advantages but there are also similarities on how they carry out the extract-transform-load processes and only differ in terminologies.

If you’re in the process of choosing ETL tools and PowerCenter Informatica and Microsoft SSIS made it to your shortlist, here is a short comparative discussion detailing the differences between the two, as well as their benefits.

Package Configuration

Most enterprise data integration projects would require the capacity to develop a solution in one platform and test and deploy it in a separate environment without having to manually change the established workflow. In order to achieve this seamless movement between two environments, your ETL technology should allow the dynamic update of the project’s properties using the content or a parameter file or configuration.

Both Informatica and SSIS support this functionality using different methodologies. In Informatica, every session can have more than one source and one or more destination connections. There are different kinds of connections the primary being relational connections. Every session can be set up dynamically by changing parameters contained in a parameter file.

The same thing can be achieved in SSIS via Configurations. Using the SSIS Configuration Wizard, configuration data is saved in XML files. Unlike Informatica wherein there can be multiple connections, SSIS only allows a single defined connection that can be applied across all tasks in a package.

In short, Informatica parameters are defined at the session level while SSIS configurations are set at the package level.

Data Staging

When you use SSIS, you will use the Connection Manager to generate a connection defining the physical location of the file. Multiple files that need to be loaded from multiple connections would require multiple connections. All information set in the connection manager can be incorporated in the Configuration File and can be dynamically updated during run-time.

On the other hand, if you’re using Informatica, you will use the Workflow Manager tool to assign a location to each file. Every task that needs to access that file can be configured with the location and name of that specific file.

Value Extraction


One of the main functions of ETL tools is being able to extract meaning from the information that is currently being ran or to supplement that information with extra information obtained from the current information in the data processing pipeline.


Both SSIS and Informatica have this functionality through the use of derived columns or the capacity to draw new information from existing data. Informatica does this via its expression transformation component while Microsoft SSIS does this via the Derived Column transformation.

The logic used to complete both operations is the same and the syntax involved is also identical. The difference between the two technologies lies in the expression language utilized to obtain the new data and the notation style involved. Informatica uses Character, Conversion, Data, Numerical, Scientific, Special and Test. On the other hand, SSIS uses Mathematical, String, Date/Time, NULL, Type Casts and Operators.

Sorting

Simply defined, sorting is having the ability to sort information into a chronological data set. While the order of the information may appear to be immaterial for loading into a relational data warehouse or database, it may matter for the other tasks later on in the transformation process.

The difference on how SSIS and Informatica carry out this functionality cannot be subtler. Informatica’s Sorter and SSIS’ Sort can both chronologically organize data and eliminate duplicate data. In SSIS, de-duplication can be done by setting the eliminate duplicates option to TRUE. For Informatica, this can be done by selecting the distinct option.

Detection of Data Quality Issues

Similar to all data integration solutions, ETL technologies can be susceptible to data quality problems. Fortunately for users of Microsoft SSIS, it allows for the creation of checkpoints within the data transformation process that can reveal and repair data quality problems. SSIS has a feature called Fuzzy Lookup transform that pairs incoming “dirty” information – unexpected abbreviations, null fields, inserted or missing tokens, truncations, misspellings and other data abnormalities – with clean records contained in a reference table. There is also the Fuzzy Grouping tool that finds similarities among input rows and unites duplicate data.

Unfortunately, Informatica does not have the same functionality out of the box. If you want to recreate this capability in Informatica, it would require human intervention to make a mapping table that contains every referrer value that came across the input stream and their equivalent mapping values.

However, take note that even if you’re using SSIS, you may still need to manually intervene to detect and repair data quality issues. Even the most advanced algorithm may miss something so you still need to manually check for the accuracy and integrity of your data.

Modularity

Modularity is concerned with the manner in which the work units that make up an end-to-end ETL solution are created and reused.

There’s a slight difference between PowerCenter Informatica and Microsoft SSIS on how they build modular data integration and ETL solutions.

Informatica involves a bottom-up framework to ETL implementation by permitting a library of components – mappings, mapplets, transformations, targets, and sources – that can be employed across numerous worklets in the solution. A worklet is composed of a sequence of mapping instances.

On the contrary, SSIS uses a top-down approach in wherein a general sequence of tasks is defined before setting the specifics on how these tasks are going to be carried out. Reusability of ETL components is achieved by creating libraries of packages which can then be implemented together with a master package. A package is the counterpart of Informatica’s worklet.

Tracking Changes in Slowly Changing Dimensions

Slowly changing dimensions address the issue of capturing and documenting a history of modifications or changes to entities within a database that are not reflected in a System of Record for that particular data. A common example of slowly changing dimensions is an item moving to another product category in a department store. This will modify the said product’s category attribute but its SKU will remain unchanged.

Informatica and SSIS both have the functionality to track these changes with very similar features. Informatica is equipped with a “slowly changing dimension wizard” that will allow you to create the sources, transformations, ports and destinations that are pertinent to accommodate these slowly changing requirements. SSIS also comes with a slowly changing dimension wizard that works similarly. Aside from the ability to keep track of slowly changing attributes, it can also recognize changes to attributes that are not supposed to change. These are known as fixed attributes. You have the option to enable the wizard to raise an error warning accordingly when this happens.

Dimension Loading

In terms of dimension loading, a surrogate key is necessary. As a substitute to a natural key, a surrogate key is where every join between fact tables and dimension tables are based.


Informatica and SSIS have varying ways on how they generate surrogate keys.

Out of the box, Informatica PowerCenter comes with a component dubbed as Sequence transformation that has the capacity to create a surrogate key. It produces an incremental value for every row in the pipeline which can then be incorporate into a destination table via a surrogate key column.

SSIS does not have a Sequence transformation component. Instead, it uses its Script transform component to generate surrogate keys.

Fact Table Loading

Populating fact tables usually involved two processes: (1) aggregating the data to the needed granularity and (2) retrieval of dimensional surrogate keys.

Informatica PowerCenter carries out these operations via a transformation dubbed as “Aggregator.” This component cuts across groupings of values from chosen input columns. SSIS has the same capability through the component called “Aggregate.” The slight difference between the two is that SSIS only has the most used functions such as Minimum and Maximum, Average, Count Distinct, Count and Sum. Informatica has all these and other extra capabilities such as Variance, Standard Deviation, Percentile, Median, First and Last.

Which ETL Technology is Right for Your Business?

There are other aspects that illustrate the difference between Informatica PowerCenter and Microsoft SSIS such as Design Time Debugging, Collaborative Development, Security, Integration with Packaged Applications, and Web Services & Service Oriented Architecture. However, the things discussed above cover the basic concepts in ETL technology.

As businesses encounter bigger challenges to synergize data from a constantly increasing number of different systems, your choice of an ETL solution to fit your needs is more crucial than ever.

As for the choice between Informatica PowerCenter and Microsoft SSIS, many analysts consider Informatica as the leader in ETL technology while reputable research firm Forrester firm once called SSIS’ price-to-performance ration “downright seductive.”

However, proclaiming a winner in this battle between two ETL technology giants would greatly depend on your business requirements. Of course, there are pricing differences between the two technologies and notable difference in their features, capabilities and differences as well as their level of usability. It’s for you to analyze which technology is the perfect fi

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
GaryM - PeerSpot reviewer
GaryMData Architect at World Vision
Top 5PopularReal User

Use of configuration files for SSIS is a really bad idea and in fact is deprecated by Microsoft with 2012. Not only is using them no longer advisable but the new method of using job and package parameters significant advantage over many competing ETL tools. Managing parameters through use of files of any sort is an incredibly maintenance and problematic method and I would not advise using any ETL tool that still requires this.

it_user4518 - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Databases at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
High performance and scalable data integration

Valuable Features:

• As it supports large data volumes, so it meets the demands of our company for security and performance. • It helps us in making better and timelier business decisions by providing us the right information at the right time. • Delivers data throughout our enterprise by accessing and integrating data in all formats. • Provides security, scalability, performance to our system and establishes a foundation for our enterprise-wide data integration initiatives. • Enables our teams of developers, analysts, and administrators to work faster and better together and also reduces our IT costs by encouraging collaboration and minimizing the development complexities.

Room for Improvement:

• It is very expensive. High end. • We provided training of SQL to our staff before using this product. Because a good understanding of SQL is mandatory for using Powercenter. • GUI: Lack of clarity and consistency created problems for our staff. So it requires some improvements. • We used the services of highly skilled persons for installation of powercenter. Novice staff can’t install this product properly.

Other Advice:

Our organization is using it because it is one of the leading data integration tools available in the market and supports large data volumes and meets our demands for security and performance. PowerCenter is serving as the data integration foundation for our enterprise integration initiatives including data warehousing, data governance, data migration, SOA), and MDM. Powercenter in my opinion has the best data transfer technologies including its standard, advanced, big data, real time, data virtualization and cloud editions.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
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Updated: September 2022
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Informatica PowerCenter Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.