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"Back in the day," as they say on television, to analyze manufacturing markets researchers began by watching the tool-and-die industry. The rate that finished goods manufacturers were ordering new castings and tooling up or retooling assembly lines by interacting with the tool and die makers indicated the health and future of the much larger manufacturing segment further up the supply chain.

It works the same way in the IT industry, so to get a feel for the health of the open source software (OSS) business intelligence (BI) application segment, I talked recently with a leading OSS data-integration (DI) tool maker. Just as it takes strong, unique dies to cast automobile engines, it takes powerful DI features like extract/transform/load (ETL), a robust repository, business modeling and so forth to underlay useful BI functionality.



Yves de Montcheuil of Talend-the OSS DI software provider-spent 16 years in traditional software marketing before joining Talend in 2007. He brings an interesting perspective to comparing the traditional and OSS worlds. Previously, Yves was Director of Product Marketing at Sunopsis until it was acquired by Oracle in October 2006. Sunopsis, like Talend, was also a supplier of high-performance DI products for heterogeneous IT environments. Certainly both Oracle and the well-funded privately held Talend are equally commercial and OSS; that is, they are for-profit entities that both use the OSS development model and communities as enablers for their product and services businesses.

One of Yves marketing efforts at Sunopsis was to type its product as Extract Load Transform (ELT) software rather than ETL software, reversing the acronym because ELT "leverages the power of the RDBMS to run the transformations in the target database," without the need for an ETL server. Sunopsis' functionality was reintroduced as Oracle Data Integrator in February 2007. The former Sunopsis product is not yet an example of an Oracle OSS effort but Oracle's extensive OSS efforts are described on its web site here, and particularly include involvement in the Eclipse consortium and support for Sleepycat/Berkeley DB and the InnoDB add-in to MySQL.)

From talking with Yves, you find some of the differences between the traditional and OSS worlds.

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