SmartDB upgrades app integration tool

SmartDB Corp., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of enterprise application integration software, last month announced a new and improved version of its SmartDB Workbench tool for enterprise application integration.

The move to distributed networks and data warehousing has created a need for application integration tools that allow network administrators to move mission-critical data from one application or platform to another. An example of such an operation would be field office workers who use Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT-based machines and need to access data from a database residing on various Unix servers.

SmartDB Workbench 4.0 automatically extracts data directly from source databases and files, validates that information and loads the converted data into the target applications. The SmartDB Workbench 4.0 engine can be used with any application, but it is particularly effective when used with the company's predesigned data templates for Oracle Corp. databases, according to SmartDB officials.

"Any organization that has a requirement for transforming and moving large amounts of data between different types of data systems" can benefit from the SmartDB Workbench 4.0 solution, said Bob Bessin, SmartDB's director of marketing. "Today, there's a real need to reintegrate this information" throughout industry, he said.

SmartDB Workbench 4.0 features support for Microsoft's SQL Server databases. It also includes new management and monitoring capabilities for tracking data during conversion and transfer and ensuring that data is not duplicated. SmartDB Workbench's State Management feature also provides tracking and reporting of individual records and data sets as well as the ability to compare source and target data.

The new version of Workbench also features a Refresh Loader that, when used in conjunction with the State Management tool, can ensure the continuation of the data conversion and loading process on records that have not been loaded at the time of a system failure or interrupt.

The monitoring and management features of the new version of SmartDB Workbench are two of the most appealing features of the solution, said Jeanine Fournier, a senior analyst with Aberdeen Group, a Boston, Mass.-based information technology research and consulting firm. "They've been able to prove that the technology solution they've come up with works," she said.

The market for enterprise application integration tools is a $1 billion market, Fournier said. However, Bessin said industry analysts expect the market to reach more than $5 billion by 2001.

"To be able to access data and integrate it across various platforms is a big deal" everywhere today, Fournier said. In addition, SmartDB's Workbench 4.0 "provides a cost-effective solution to the marketplace, primarily due to their template approach," which precludes a reinvention of the wheel every time Smart DB takes on a new customer, she said.

SmartDB Workbench solutions are available through the NASA Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement Contract II as well as the General Services Administration schedule through TASC Inc. The company also has done business with Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Commerce Department and the Marine Corps.

"If people are in an Oracle database environment," Fournier said, "SmartDB would be a smart choice— no pun intended."

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