Informatica vs ODI

As you would expect, the debate still goes on as to what is happening on the OBIEE ETL front.

As all you ex-Siebel people will know Informatica is the system that every uses for their databases. It was licensed by Siebel to run their CRM ETL Packaged Applications. Then when Oracle bought out Siebel they stated that Informatica was still the supported platform, even though they had their own tool, OWB. Now, OWB appears to be a great tool, but Oracle did not want to re-write all the Application (Mappings, Workflows, DAC, Documentation) and force their customers onto new software.

However, they then bought an ETL product company and launched another ETL (or ELT) tool called ODI – Oracle Data Integrator. The immediate speculation was that this would replace the Informatica tool in the Applications development. At the conferences I went to last year Oracle were still saying that Informatica was the main tool, but hinted at the the possible use of ODI in the future. In this document from 2007 they only mentioned OWB in the BI suite! and This Oracle Fusion roadmap does not state which tool is king.

Now there is a rumour that Oracle are beginning to use ODI for some applications. Mark Silialks (Oracle employee) pointed out in a debate on LinkedIn that the Oracle stated direction for Financial Analytics is the use of ODI – I haven’t verfied this yet, but I think Greg Hutchinson summed it up nicely when he said that “Using ODI for Financial Analytics busts one of the key design advantages….conforming dimensions across all 42 OBI EE modules. So imagine a company that buys an OBI EE SLA now. Does this mean they must support both ODI for one part and Informatica for the rest? What about upgrades? or buying additional modules? “

It is clear from customers that they like Informatica because it is skillset that is already known in the business and can be available from the market (contrators, consultancies, employees).
They have also invested a great deal of time customising – thats what I do! – Adding missing functionality, adapting for changes made in the OLTP, adding other external data.
They do not want to have to repeat all of that work, learn a new skillset and be held to ransom on rates because of a skills shortage.

I’ll keep looking out for more signs from Oracle but for now stick to the Informatica stuff.


  1. Time and again, I’ve had this discussion and it really boils down to this:

    If they want to replace Informatica, they will have to
    a) do it in one big step (like the “move” from Actuate to BIP in 8.1.1)
    b) provide an upgrade path (unlike Actuate/BIP…)

    Apart from that I have to say that I still like ODI a lot less than Informatica. In two, three years down the line perhaps, but today? Definitely no.


  2. This is so typical of Oracle and their complete lack of a cohesive strategy or communication of a strategy. I’ve seen materials that mention to sell ODI into places that have bought the BI Apps. Huh???
    I’ve also heard that OWB and ODI are being merged and that ODI and INFA will be parallel for a while.

    Net-net: Ignore anything you hear from them until it is actually released into a real product.


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