Business demand for information is insatiable, driven by performance management, competitive pressures, industry regulations and the exchange of data with suppliers, partners and customers. Likewise, data integration becomes a challenge as companies deal with diverse sources, huge volumes of data and demand for real-time results.

The good news is that data integration capabilities have expanded over the years through software improvements and infrastructure advancements. In software, extract, transform and load (ETL) has emerged as the data integration workhouse with enterprise application integration (EAI), enterprise information integration (EII) and service-oriented architecture (SOA) integrated into powerful data integration suites. Infrastructure advances in multiprocessor central processing units (CPUs), storage arrays, disk input/output (I/O), network bandwidth and database throughput have greatly increased the volume of data that businesses can process. The bad news is that despite these advances, enterprises have not been able to keep up with business information demands. And, many simply cannot afford it.

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