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Michael Lutz
Sr. Data Warehouse Developer at Fox Chase Cancer Center
Real User
Top 20
It's a powerful tool that does a lot, but it has its annoyances
Pros and Cons
  • "Data Services' table comparison mechanism is very powerful. It's pretty hard to find a similar feature in other solutions."
  • "Source code control is another headache. When your source code base gets too large, managing the source code becomes cumbersome."

What is our primary use case?

We use Data Services to pull data from a hospital system and transfer it to a centralized Oracle database. Then we use the tool to transform the data for reporting and analytics.

How has it helped my organization?

Data Services enables hospital staff to understand the data across disparate systems within the enterprise, helping the company to make more intelligent business decisions.

What is most valuable?

Data Services' table comparison mechanism is very powerful. It's pretty hard to find a similar feature in other solutions. There isn't really a great solution in Raw SQL. Data Services' general programming features are strong. The programming language is pretty rich. You can significantly transform the data. It also performs well when pushing SQL down to the database server. The tool tries to do as much work in a database as possible, but there are times when it can't do that as well. In those cases, it will process the data in its own engine. All the connectors and the panelization capabilities are pretty useful as well.

What needs improvement?

Data Services' UI can be annoying. Searching through long lists of things takes time because of some limitations. Source code control is another headache. When your source code base gets too large, managing the source code becomes cumbersome. Also, it's not possible to generate the code. You have to code everything manually. There's no way they're going to fix this. It would be nice to generate code from another program, but you can't do that. 

For some tasks you need to do as an ETL developer, it doesn't make sense to code them all one at a time. You want to be able to read the metadata from something and generate the code. But the architecture of the tool doesn't play nicely with that. The ability to generate code would be one feature that would be nice to have. 

I'd also like to see a smoother code promotion check-in and check-out process for large codebases and fixes to the comparison mechanism. The tool allows you to compare your code against the essential repositories, but the comparison mechanism is buggy. It sometimes reports false positives for what has changed. SAP could maybe improve the performance diagnostics for the production environment. Data Services has some rudimentary performance analysis tools, but they're pretty basic. There's not a dashboard to view where you're doing things well and not well performance-wise. A comprehensive performance dashboard would be nice.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using SAP Data Services for about six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Data Services is pretty solid. I would give it almost a perfect 10 for stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Data Services is highly scalable. Right now, there are a small number of direct users. They're all developers and software engineers. This isn't a user-facing tool like BOE or Webby that reports business objects. Data Services is an ETL tool that IT people use, so the user base is small. We are using it extensively, though, with about 150 jobs that run every night, but we are planning on decreasing our usage of the tool. However, that is because of what's going on in the hospital system rather than the tool's fault. Due to system changes, we don't have as much need for ETL work. So it will be probably decreasing over time. But we've used it extensively for six years.

How are customer service and support?

SAP's support is good, but the process can be complex. If I were giving it a letter grade, I would say B-minus. 

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

My company was using SSIS for a short time before I came on board. They switched because my boss knows Oracle well, and this seemed like the best option. He did an entire evaluation, and they decided to go with SAP Data Services because it is a fully functional reporting suite. Data Services operates well with BOE and its reporting solution. However, the primary factor in the decision was that my boss isn't a SQL Server person. He's an Oracle person, and this tool is more robust in the Oracle realm. In addition, Data Services isn't overly expensive. I believe that it's considerably less costly than Oracle Data Integrator or Informatica PowerCenter. He would've gone with those two tools, but they were too expensive.

How was the initial setup?

Setting up Data Services is moderately complex. It's a big tool with a lot of components that need to be configured. Data Services is an enterprise-level data extraction and transformation load tool. There are just a lot of pieces. We've struggled because we were trying to install it on Solaris. I just finished an upgrade. I set up our environment five years ago, and we just upgraded it again. 

It took much longer because they didn't have good support for Solaris. They say that they support Solaris, but they really don't. Since we moved over to Linux, we've been a lot better off. But it's a pretty sizable effort to set up the tool and configure it. You have to have DevTest and PRIDE. There are a lot of moving parts and various repository job servers. You have to understand the topology and architecture of the tool to know how to install and configure it. It's not like installing Microsoft Word.

The total amount of time needed to deploy depends on your environment. Generally, it should take about a month to get it up and running. In actuality, it took a lot longer than that. But once we got on the right OS, it was quicker. Our deployment strategy was to have three instances of the tool. First, we have DevTest and PRIDE. Then each developer has their own repository where they can do their work. So we have a development, test, and production repository. Every developer first runs their code in their own repository, which is where your code is stored. The code is then promoted to a common dev area. After that, it goes to a common test area, and finally, it heads to a common production area.

We've deployed Data Services several times, and each time we've had to do a net new install and transfer things over. We ran into some limitations on being able to upgrade in place. We have one person managing and maintaining the solution, but that person's workload fluctuates. It can be very demanding at times. It can use a lot of one person's time for short periods when you do upgrades. You have to know how to get onto SAP's website, open tickets, and work with SAP Support. That's another thing that adds to the time of the deployment. The amount of time you spend with SAP support is non-trivial. You have to understand the ticketing system and how to contact the engineers. It takes a little while to get used to that.

What about the implementation team?

When Data Services was first deployed, I was not working at the company. At the time, they used consultants. Since I came on, I've been handling it all in-house.

What other advice do I have?

I rate SAP Data Services seven out of 10. It's a powerful tool that does a lot. It has a lot of strengths, but there are some annoyances that slow down the programmer. It gets frustrating over time. It's also crucial that your repository database technology performs well. I would say seven out of 10 because it's powerful. It would be a nine if it weren't for the clunky source code management and a few other hassles like its inability to generate code.

I probably wouldn't choose this tool for what we're doing because I don't think SAP views this tool as their go-forward technology. SAP now has HANA and a new set of tools that operate in the cloud. I believe the company is primarily in a maintenance situation with Data Services. So if I were starting a new ETL project from scratch, I wouldn't go with SAP Data Services.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Senior Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Reasonably priced, scales well, good performance
Pros and Cons
  • "The solution can scale very easily."
  • "My only problem is the seamless connectivity with various other databases, for example, SAP."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is getting data from the sensors.

The sensors are installed on the various equipment across the plant, and this sensor gives us a huge amount of data. Some are captured on a millisecond basis.

What we are able to do is the data into Azure Data Factory, and it has allowed us to scale up well. We are able to utilize that data for our predictive maintenance of the assets of the equipment, as well as the prediction of the breakdown. Specifically, we use the data to look at predictions for future possible breakdowns. At least, that is what we are looking to build towards.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped us to take care of a lot of our analytics requirements. We are running a few analytics models on Data Factory, which is very helpful.

What is most valuable?

The overall architecture has been very valuable to us. It has allowed us to scale up pretty rapidly. That's something that has been very good for us. 

The solution can scale very easily.

The stability is very good and has improved very much over time.

What needs improvement?

My only problem is the seamless connectivity with various other databases, for example, SAP. Our transaction data there, all the maintenance data, is maintained in SAP. That seamless connectivity is not there. 

Basically, it could have some specific APIs that allow it to connect to the traditional ERP systems. That'll make it more powerful. With Oracle, it's pretty good at this already. However, when it comes to SAP, SAP has its native applications, which are the way it is written. It's very much AWS with SAP Cloud, so when it comes to Azure, it's difficult to fetch data from SAP.

The initial setup is a bit complex. It's likely a company may need to enlist assistance.

Technical support is lacking in terms of responsiveness.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution roughly for about a year and a half.

It hasn't been an extremely long amount of time. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From a security perspective, the product has come up a long way.

With the Azure Cloud Platform, in 2015, I was in a different organization and it was not reliable at all. It has become much more reliable since then and is very stable at the moment. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is pretty easy to scale on Azure. I have found it to be very efficient and it is pretty fast. You just need to get the order done properly, and then you will be able to scale up.

We have about five to seven people using it at this time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support isn't the best, as it's a bit delayed at times.

Whenever we need some urgent support, wherein we have to restart or something has stuck, it takes a bit of time. Some improvements can be made in the customer support area.

In summary, we are not completely satisfied with the support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not straightforward. It's a bit complex. A company may need to hire someone to assist them with the process.

The solution's deployment took about eight weeks.

What about the implementation team?

I had to hire technical experts who could help us in the process. We could not handle the implementation ourselves.

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

Cost-wise, it is quite affordable. It's not a factor in the decision-making process when it comes to whether or not we should use it. That said, the pricing is very reasonable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated both Oracle and SAP before choosing Azure Data Factory.

What other advice do I have?

We are customers and end-users.

I'd advise companies considering the solution that they need to be very clear about the use case they are trying to address. They need to understand the data ecosystem that they have and what percentage of data is coming in from the various ERP systems.

Do that study properly and then come up with the right solution. If, for example, it is that the underlying data that they want to analyze is more than 60% residing in SAP, then probably Azure would not be the right platform to move ahead with.

We're mostly satisfied with the product. However, getting it connected to closed ERP systems like SAP would make it more powerful.

I would rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Muharrem Iseri
Managing Partner at Caligo
Real User
Easy to use, and metadata repository is valuable
Pros and Cons
  • "One of the most valuable features for us is the metadata repository because it can easily understand the lineage of first target mapping. My company and I also find Informatica really easy to use—when a consultant joins our company, in just a few days to a few weeks, they can understand how to use it—so we prefer to use this ETL tool."
  • "PowerCenter could be improved by having more big data components. Normally, we prefer Informatica as a relational database, but nowadays, companies are trying to understand and use big data components. I think it would be useful if we had more chances to create a hub ecosystem because customers try to use some data integration tasks by SQL, Spark and Spark codes, and Scala, but at the end of the day, the company will understand that we need to trace all the steps. An ETL tool is a must for that company, if we're talking about the regulated industries like finance, telcos, etc. If Informatica's biggest ecosystems feature were okay, I would prefer to use it."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use cases of PowerCenter are database regulatory reporting cases. Both sides are suitable for us to net trace metadata and it's easy to develop or hedge, after production as well. It's also easy to understand the steps or ETL. 

I'm working with the latest update, and it's deployed on-prem. 

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features for us is the metadata repository because it can easily understand the lineage of first target mapping. My company and I also find Informatica really easy to use—when a consultant joins our company, in just a few days to a few weeks, they can understand how to use it—so we prefer to use this ETL tool. 

What needs improvement?

PowerCenter could be improved by having more big data components. Normally, we prefer Informatica as a relational database, but nowadays, companies are trying to understand and use big data components. I think it would be useful if we had more chances to create a hub ecosystem because customers try to use some data integration tasks by SQL, Spark and Spark codes, and Scala, but at the end of the day, the company will understand that we need to trace all the steps. An ETL tool is a must for that company, if we're talking about the regulated industries like finance, telcos, etc. If Informatica's biggest ecosystems feature were okay, I would prefer to use it. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with PowerCenter for more than seven years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability and performance of PowerCenter are good. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is fair enough. 

PowerCenter is suitable for large companies. The pricing could be an issue for some companies who want to implement and develop with PowerCenter.

How are customer service and support?

I haven't been in touch with technical support in the last few years, but before that, I contacted them many times. I remember that when we were using PDW, the previous version of Microsoft APS, we contacted Informatica support teams a few times to handle connection problems with the driver of PDW, and they solved it. I was satisfied with the support. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of PowerCenter is a simple process. The first development took just a week—a few days is enough. 

What about the implementation team?

We provide implementation services to customers. We are a consultant company, so we use it for our customers on the customer's side, but we don't have a business relationship with Informatica. 

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

Compared to other tools, I think PowerCenter is a bit expensive. When I compare it to Oracle, if you want to use Oracle databases, you can easily get an ODI tool, so it's easier to handle. Informatica is a standalone tool—it's an independent company—and there are no databases around them, so it's quite expensive to use. 

Generally, large companies use PowerCenter because of the price. If companies want to expand their usage areas, they try to consider if it's easy to implement and easy to understand the pricing. I think the pricing is a barrier for Informatica. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate PowerCenter a nine out of ten. To those looking into implementing PowerCenter, I would advise evaluating whether they have a large company. If their first criteria is not pricing, I totally recommend Informatica as their first ETL tool, but if there are pricing, performance and support, etc. requirements, maybe they can evaluate ODI and Informatica together. If you have an Oracle ecosystem, I think you can get Oracle or ODI cheaper than Informatica, but if you don't, I think Informatica could be a leading option. It depends on what the customer has. 

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.
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Implementation Specialist, Individual Contributor at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
User-friendly, good price, and useful for connecting to different databases
Pros and Cons
  • "I can connect with different databases such as Oracle Database or SQL Server. It allows you to extract the data from one database to another. I can structure the data by filtering and mapping the fields. It is very user-friendly. You need to know the basics of SQL development or SQL queries, and you can use this tool."
  • "In terms of features, it has all the features that I need. However, it consumes a lot of resources. It is using a lot of RAM, and they need to fix the issue related to resource consumption. It currently requires more than 24 gigabytes of RAM, which is a big amount of RAM."

What is our primary use case?

I'm currently doing the research and testing it on my machine. Our use case is to extract or manipulate data from one database to another one in a structured form.

How has it helped my organization?

I am just testing this solution. It is too early to say whether it is helpful for our company. I am currently assessing it, and I will report my assessment to our management. If it is useful for our project, we will buy a license and use it in our projects.

What is most valuable?

I can connect with different databases such as Oracle Database or SQL Server. It allows you to extract the data from one database to another. I can structure the data by filtering and mapping the fields.

It is very user-friendly. You need to know the basics of SQL development or SQL queries, and you can use this tool.

What needs improvement?

In terms of features, it has all the features that I need. However, it consumes a lot of resources. It is using a lot of RAM, and they need to fix the issue related to resource consumption. It currently requires more than 24 gigabytes of RAM, which is a big amount of RAM.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two weeks.

How are customer service and technical support?

I didn't open any cases with technical support. I would need a license from Talend to get support.

How was the initial setup?

It was easy and user-friendly. Its deployment took around 20 to 30 minutes.

What about the implementation team?

I didn't use a consultant.

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

The cost for one year for the ETL tools, not for the big data, is 6K per year. It is a good price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I'm also assessing the Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) solution. I have to assess both Talend and ODI, and management will decide which one will be used. It seems like we can use both of these solutions. For example, for Oracle Database, we can use ODI, and for other databases, we can use Talend Open Studio.

What other advice do I have?

It is good for connecting to more than one source. I can manipulate the data from multiple sources. I can manipulate the data from different databases such as SQL Server or Oracle Database.

I would rate Talend Open Studio an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Project Lead Performance Engineer & Automation at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Stable, good technical support, and scalable

What is our primary use case?

We are using SSIS for all of our relational database management systems (RDBMS) data.

What needs improvement?

The solution could improve by having quicker release updates.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SSIS for approximately 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. With virtualization enabled we are able to scale horizontally. We have approximately 2,000 users using this solution in our company.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good.

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

We have previously used Oracle.

What about the

What is our primary use case?

We are using SSIS for all of our relational database management systems (RDBMS) data.

What needs improvement?

The solution could improve by having quicker release updates.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SSIS for approximately 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. With virtualization enabled we are able to scale horizontally.

We have approximately 2,000 users using this solution in our company.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good.

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

We have previously used Oracle.

What about the implementation team?

We have approximately 12 administrators and managers that do the implementation and maintenance of the solution.

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

We have an enterprise license for this solution.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others.

I rate SSIS a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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