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Multi-tenant cloud holds value for both vendors and customers

Kathleen Kriz
Though multi-tenant clouds for data integration can be intimidating for big IT businesses, Informatica Corp. has steadily improved its software as a service (SaaS) offering to meet concerns about the cloud.

Last month, Informatica announced the availability of the Informatica Cloud Fall 2010 release. It builds on development for the cloud began in 2005, when Sohaib Abbasi joined Informatica as CEO.

Darren Cunningham, vice president of product marketing for Informatica Cloud, said they understood where SaaS was heading, and in 2006 they put their vision out to the market, establishing the framework for Informatica Cloud.

Because the vendors of the platforms are delivered and stored in the cloud, they have matured. And every cloud vendor, in order to be enterprise-ready, has to comply with certain standards.

Darren Cunningham, vice president of product marketing for Informatica Cloud,

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As in traditional data centers, data integration is key in the cloud. Data integration and quality are typically run by the IT, but with the SaaS applications, Cunningham said, it's been found that they are run by individual lines of business.

"We built a very easy to use cloud service that was designed to be managed and run by the fairly non-technical people that were implementing these cloud applications," said Cunningham. "Security's always going to be a big question when you're moving your data outside of the firewall. What's unique about Informatica and our approach to the cloud is that we don't physically host the data, we just help companies move the data between systems." The Informatica Cloud works with meta data to schedule and implement integrations of actual data assets.

The Informatica Cloud is a multi-tenant service, meaning customers run on the same code-line, but there are separate tenants within the system that ensure privacy and security. This multi-tenant service benefits the vendor and the customers because the vendor doesn't have to support old configurations customers may be running. When upgrades are released, everyone gets the same upgrades and they generally take less than an hour.

Some people are worried about putting sensitive information on a cloud. There are security breach risks, confidentiality threats, and the question of availability.

"It's always the number one question the cloud vendors get when the company's considering moving in that direction, but I think what's evolved over the last few years is that it has become a question and less of an objection," said Cunningham. "Because the vendors of the platforms are delivered and stored in the cloud, they have matured and every cloud vendor, in order to be enterprise-ready, has to comply with certain standards."

Customers of the Informatica Cloud also have the opportunity to use Informatica's new trust site, Trust.InformaticaCloud.com. This site provides real-time information about the multi-tenant service: how the system is performing and any potential issues it may have. It also gives details on integration jobs and transactions processed.

"It delivers a level of transparency, it delivers a level of visibility that you need to be running a data integration service," said Cunningham.

Cunningham said data integration is becoming a key to cloud success.

"Lack of integration with existing systems is often the reason why people move away from cloud-based applications," said Cunningham. "So what we're seeing is that cloud-based integration is becoming a key enabler of success."

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