What is Informatica?

Posted by Muneeswara C Pandian
May 27th, 2008

Informatica is a data integration platform, some of the key characteristics of Informatica that stand out are the

  1. ETL process components and the user interface
  2. Metadata
  3. Wider data handling

ETL process components and the user interface

Datastage was the first GUI based data integration platform with an engine at its core, Informatica was probably designed & built to overcome some of the issues faced in using the Datastage. Informatica’s initial ETL product PoweMart’s Visual C++ based user interface was much appealing and easier to use than the Visual Basic based interface of Datastage. The port level view of the transformations/widgets made things much easier to view. The simple transformations like Filter, Update Strategy helped ETL developers to easily convert their design ideas into mappings. For every release there are definitive enhancements being done to improve the developer experience.


Informatica has set standards into terms of either collecting or exposing the Metadata of an ETL process. The metadata of Informatica is stored in relational structure and is easily accessible directly or through its MX Views or through the SDK kit. The detail in capturing the ETL process into multiple components has enabled the product to introduce much better features or integrate newer solutions like data lineage or data type propagation or reusability that are not easily possible in other competitor products. The level of metadata capture right from mapping to transformation to the port level ensured that data about the process is captured at all levels and that no separate documentation is to be maintained outside the system.

Wider data handling

Unquestionably Informatica has made some great products available at the right time, something like mainframe access component which it acquired through Striva Inc still remains as the best mainframe access, and if you would have used the MVS edition of Datastage you would have seen its code generation based mainframe support. Informatica’s successful take on the ‘ELT’ based database engine products by introducing the ‘Push Down Optimization’ are great examples on how the platform has been flexible and agile to get itself extended in regular product updates.

Now Informatica is also a complete ‘data governance’ platform it provides the tools like data profiling or data quality management or the recent one identity systems solution integration. ‘Informatica Way’ has been to always make complex things look simpler and easily manageable.

We would discuss further on many more topics related to the Informatica platform right from simple tips to solution options, keep reading…Thank You.

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