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Talend Integration Suite

  • July 14 2011, 10:16am EDT

REVIEWER: Joseph Rugolo, director of data operations at Onboard Informatics.

BACKGROUND: Since 2001, Onboard Informatics has offered online tools for companies to drive traffic, keep and convert visitors, and understand behaviors. For years, Onboard has provided comprehensive local, regional and national real estate data solutions and Web services to companies in real estate, publishing and technology. Onboard delivers seamless integration of real estate property listings, innovative lifestyle search engines, community, school, neighborhood, geographic and demographic information, and transforms the complexity of this data into meaningful solutions. Onboard’s technologies support clients such as Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation,,, CNNMoney and the New York Times, in achieving business objectives on both Web and mobile platforms. Privately held since its founding, Onboard is located in New York City.

PLATFORMS: Dell R710, Windows Server 2008.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As you may know, the world of real estate is fast moving and Onboard Informatics knows this better than most. For our business to run, we must provide our clients with up-to-date and accurate information about current real estate listings, community facts and detailed school data in near real time. The information represents an average daily volume of 2 million real estate listings that are accompanied by approximately 17 million photos and a few million records for real estate agent profiles and their office contact information. Previously, in order for us to integrate this volume of data in a timely fashion, our developers developed the code base and then manually operated the system to ensure the processes were completed and data was published. Talend helped us to automate manual processes and shave hours off our developers’ time.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Talend Integration Suite extracts data from the various systems that fuel our business. It then transforms the data into a format that our system understands and loads that data into our main system. Talend Integration Suite automatically runs our data integration processes every 10 minutes against our source systems. This enables us to update real estate listings, photos and broker profiles in near real time. With the help of Talend, we were able to build a component that integrates our existing geocoding process within a larger workflow to standardize the coding of addresses and ZIP codes, eliminating duplicate records, and assign coordinates used for search and display.

STRENGTHS: Talend Integration Suite proved to be an easy to use and cost-effective data integration solution. It has proven to scale with the volume of data we process on a real-time basis. The solution is also very powerful – including many purpose build components – compared to some of the less sophisticated products on the market. For example, with its database connectors, the job of connecting to other source systems is seamless, centrally managed, and requires no coding. Best of all, we really feel that open source is the way to go, and Talend has proven that they are an effective open source product that is enterprise grade. The Talend community continually delivers new and powerful add-ons and features.

WEAKNESSES: We’d like to see Talend Integration Suite become even easier to deploy. While we were up and running quickly and have a team of valued developers, we’d like to see additional tools to speed and ease deployment for businesses that move as fast as ours. As an open source product, there can be some trial and error with component support during major version upgrades.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We researched various tools and found that some were simply cost-prohibitive while others were less intuitive, requiring substantial upfront training. We needed a solution that would scale appropriately based on the growing volumes of data we integrate on a daily basis, both for performance and ROI. Talend was selected in part due to its high throughput, real-time integration and its parallel integration capabilities. A major contributor to our decision was that Talend is one of the most cost-effective solutions we evaluated for a small team.

DELIVERABLES: The Talend Integration Suite automatically runs our integration jobs. It extracts the data from various external sources, transforms it into the format our system understands and loads it into our system. The Suite also provides access to detailed meta information about system activity and integrated seamlessly into our monitoring, support and response processes.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The Talend support during our initial build was outstanding. They continue to be available to support us and are very responsive. The Talend community is also very instrumental in finding and sharing new and innovative ways of using the product. The company has proven to be a solid partner in helping us solve the big challenges to making our business run smoothly. They offer innovative solutions that solve real world business issues at a cost-effective price. It’s that simple.

DOCUMENTATION: Talend’s documentation is not only solid, but the large community of Talend users and advocates share their new innovations on the community site so that everyone has access to new and emerging ideas.

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