IBM to debut info management software

By Joab Jackson, IDG News Service |  BPM

Next month, IBM will release a beta version of a software application designed to keep track of how information flows across different systems, sending alerts when source data has been altered or isn't properly ingested into some target system or report.

"A lot of our customers have had challenges monitoring the quality of information," said Steven Adler, IBM's program director for information governance. This new product will "help govern the use of information by people, which is totally dependent on operational awareness."

Marketed under the company's InfoSphere line of data management software, the InfoSphere Business Information Monitor is designed to track how well data moves from databases to business intelligence or other enterprise software. It sends out RSS or e-mail alerts when something goes awry, said Michael Curry, IBM's director of strategy for information management.

"For instance, if there was a quality issue with a data feed that was received from upstream, [the software] would make sure the business person looking at the report actually understood that quality issues were there and that the information may not be as trustworthy as they thought," Curry said. "It is aware that the data in a report or process is actually linked back to a lot of points in an information supply chain."

The software is based off of real-time enterprise database-monitoring software developed by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Guardium, a company that IBM acquired last November. IBM Research labs also contributed some code to the final product.

Setting up the software involves placing agents on database servers and other originating points of data. The software monitors these platforms for changes either to the data itself or to the underlying data structure. If a table is dropped, for instance, the software can alert the users of that database. An administrator predefines the metrics for measuring quality and for setting up alerts.

The software can monitor most relational databases, including IBM's DB2, Oracle, SQL Server and Sybase databases. It can monitor for data quality issues in data warehouses such as Teradata's, or any database accessible through the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity). It can also work with ERP (enterprise resource planning) software such as SAP's and Oracle's, as well as with many business intelligence platforms, including IBM's own Cognos, SAP's Business Objects, Oracle's Hyperion and other business intelligence applications.

IBM also plans to offer a software development kit that can be used to create custom agents.

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