| from Harsha Sachdev

Informatica Powercenter vs. Informatica Cloud

Introduction

Informatica Logo

Informatica PowerCenter is an ETL tool that is used to extract, transform, and load data from sources. We can build enterprise data warehouses with the help of Informatica PowerCenter. The main components of Informatica PowerCenter are its client tools, server, repository, and repository server.

The Informatica PowerCenter is highly available, fully scalable, and high-performing. PowerCenter provides a platform where we can execute all significant data integration projects and take an initiate all over the enterprises.

Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services (IICS) is a data integration solution and platform that works like Software as a Service (SaaS). It integrates cloud-based data with the data residing in on-premise databases and systems or between cloud applications.

Informatica Intelligent Cloud Data Integration is the cloud based PowerCenter which delivers accessible, trustworthy, and secure data to facilitate valuable business decisions. Informatica Cloud Data Integration can help you and your organization with global, distributed data warehouse and analytics projects.

 

Unterstand the difference and choose the right tool for your organization

Administrative Differences

Informatica Cloud architecture is a simple one. Users can directly install and manage the servers. Users can download the secure agent from the Informatica cloud admin tool and install it on the server. After installation, the username and token need to be entered and then the server is automatically tied to your organization. Adding more servers to the grid is also quite easy, just install the secure agent and add it to the group. The performance of the server can be tuned from the Run time environment in the admin window. A repository database is not required as it is maintained by the Informatica itself in the cloud.

Informatica Cloud architecture is quite complex and requires administrator to install and manage the servers. First, the admin must install one of the supported repository databases like Oracle or SQL Server. Then the Informatica services (like integration and repository) need to be installed on a server. At the time of installation, the repository database connection details must be provided. Maintaining a grid also requires a lot of steps. That is why an administrator is required to maintain the respiratory database and the servers.

Task Designing

The PowerCenter gives flexibility to the developers to design the process flow in sequential or parallel or both or based on conditions. In the IICS tool, the developer must choose the design pattern before creating the task flow itself and it is also complicated to change between design patterns.

Real-Time Processing

Both tools can process the data in near real-time by running the mappings quite frequently. However, with cloud tools, we can develop APIs to integrate multiple applications. There is no option in the PowerCenter tool for developing the APIs.

Performance Tuning

As PowerCenter is installed on our servers only, it gives complete flexibility to the admins to tune the resources and improve the performance. Whereas the cloud tool doesn't give complete flexibility to tune the resources as some of the hardware/software is maintained by the Informatica itself on the cloud.

 

Pros and Cons - Informatica PowerCenter

Pros:

  • The solution is very user-friendly, and the user interface is very easy to understand

  • Technical support and approach of Informatica is very 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 most complex task, in this case, was to read and transform BLOB data, and Java transformation in Informatica PowerCenter was a great solution

  • 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

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

  • Informatica comes with internal scheduler unlike many other ETL tools where one need to use third party scheduler an added advantage for those who are not using enterpriser scheduler. For many organizations taking a proprietary scheduler is not strategic. Especially if module is in Concept phase for business

Cons:

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

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

  • It is strange that not all the mapping changes are treated as true changes.

Pros and Cons - Informatica Cloud Services

Pros:

  • The solution's initial setup is quite straightforward

  • The program is stable and scalable

  • Whether we need data cleansing or data mastering, we get it all in one platform

  • The user interface which is very easy to use if we have any problems to solve

  • The connectivity and their whole suite are valuable features. Whether we need data cleansing or data mastering, we get it all in one platform. There's no need to test different cloud vendors and then integrate with one solution. Informatica is a one-stop shop

  • One of the main valuable features is the user interface which is very easy to use if we have any problems to solve. We don't need to install any client machines to do this, we can access from any machine

Cons:

  • One area that needs to improve is the user experience because it is very complex. The trial version is very complex so it's not easy to start using the program immediately. Users must study the rules first

  • Users can request for the features which are only used. Like if one use only SQL Server as source and target, one can get the license to create these connections only or if user need to use a File watch then user can procure the file watch license

  • Users need to manually take backups, in order to have roll back possibilities

Why do organizations migrate from Informatica PowerCenter to Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services?

Taking a cloud approach has many benefits like reducing vendor lock-in, greater agility, scalability, network performance improvement, improved risk management, and more. Few key reasons for organizations moving to IICS are listed below:

  • Cloud data integration and data migration into Google Cloud Platform, AWS or Azure is possible with IICS while there are limitations with Informatica PowerCenter integration
  • More advanced, critical needs, like real-time data, are not possible with Informatica PowerCenter batch support
  • Informatica PowerCenter lacks API management, web services support, data quality, and unstructured and semi-structured data support
  • Operating expenses are high for maintenance with Informatica PowerCenter

 

Conclusion

Although both systems share some common things, they are pretty much different in terms of scalability, ease of use, stability, networking requirements, and some more. Just a few points:

With PowerCenter you can distribute workload over as many servers as you want to. Meaning you could distribute heavy workloads of billions of records over e.g. five different servers.

With IICS (as far as I know) you are restricted to four CPU cores per IICS license.

The PowerCenter GUI is quite old but stable. The IICS GUI is quite more modern, but browser interfaces often are not easy to use. It's a matter of taste.

Workflows have many different features in both worlds. You cannot simply move a "workflow" from one world to the other, you must manually rebuild quite a few things.

Connectivity is another area of huge differences. IICS offers more connectors, but many connectors for PowerCenter offer better performance. And quite a few connectors exist in one world but not in the other one.

So the organizations should in my opinion really weigh the pros and cons and they need to decide if they want to move to IICS from a stable system built on Informatica PowerCenter, because there are lot of steps involved in migration although it is possible to export XMLs and do the migration.

About the author

Harsha is a Senior Consultant Business Intelligence at Woodmark Consulting and an expert in Informatica PowerCenter, MS SQL Server, DWH and ETL, among others. She has several years of experience in various industries and sectors, like Banking, Travel and Finance.

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