Informatica has strengthened its hand in the burgeoning market for Hadoop, the open-source programming framework for large-scale data processing, unveiling a new data parser on Wednesday that can transform piles of unstructured information into a more structured form for use in running Hadoop jobs.
The release builds on Informatica's June release of a Hadoop connector, which was aimed at data movement in and out of a Hadoop cluster, rather than data transformation. It also comes amid a wave of announcements from vendors such as Sybase and MarkLogic in the run-up to next week's Hadoop World conference.
Hadoop has emerged as one of the highest-profile technologies associated with "Big Data," an industry buzzword referring to the large amounts of unstructured information generated by websites, sensors and other non-relational sources, as well as the desire by companies to sift through such data for insights about their customers and businesses.
Informatica has been in the data-parsing business for some time. HParser includes a set of libraries for various data types, from standards like XML to industry-specific formats such as HIPAA, which is used in healthcare, and ASN.1 for telcos.
It comes in three editions, including two commercial versions, HParser Industry Standards and HParser for Documents, as well as a community version. The latter is available at no cost but premium services and add-ons are for sale.
Also Wednesday, Informatica announced that the community version of HParser will be available for use and downloadable from the website of Hortonworks, a spinoff of Yahoo which announced a preview version of its own Hadoop distribution this week.
The news drew a pair of thumbs-up from industry analysts.
The parser represents "great news for the Hadoop community," as it gives them "field-proven" technology, said James Kobielus, senior analyst with Forrester Research.
The Hortonworks announcement illustrates the "sorts of vendor partnerships that Hortonworks is building in the Hadoop community that will drive continued development of the fully open-source Apache Hadoop stack," Kobielus added.
One big stumbling block for Hadoop has been that many IT shops don't have the skills to easily adopt it. HParser's graphical development environment could help mitigate this problem, wrote David Menninger, vice president and research director at Ventana Research, in a blog post Wednesday.
"Using a graphical environment to develop these routines should make it easier and faster to create the code necessary to parse the data," he wrote.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com