REVIEWER: Edgar Osorio, CIO for Sunset Group.
BACKGROUND: The Sunset Group is one of the leading vacation ownership developers in Mexico and Latin America with 1,000 employees and six hotels in the Mexican Caribbean. Based in Cancun, Mexico, our hospitality group launched operations in 1990 with the opening of a private resort VIP operation that require a number of services to meet member needs. This includes a services center, reservation center, collection center and management of its Interclub membership. The Sunset Group also offers a full-service marina for yacht owners, a car rental agency, a spa and wellness center, and a full-feature tour and travel agency.
PLATFORMS: The Sunset Group’s varied data sources include SAP Business One running SQL Server on a Windows server, distributed Oracle9i running on Linux CentOS, Excel spreadsheet exports from a legacy application and statistics from our accounting department and the hotel property management system.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Because we operate a number of subsidiaries under a corporate umbrella structure, the Sunset Group needs to provide its executive management team with timely and accurate reporting on discrete operational costs for an increasingly diverse organization as well as the company’s overall operating budget. A key challenge in meeting this objective is the extraction and processing of multiple data types from heterogeneous computing and storage sources that can be performed without labor-intensive, costly and inefficient hand-coding efforts. While the Sunset Group already uses QlikView to consolidate information from disparate information sources, it became clear that a dedicated extract, transform and load tool was essential to streamlining our data integration process.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Talend Open Studio gathers data from diverse information sources, transforms the data and stores it in the target MySQL database. Because Open Studio processes these disparate data flows, the QlikView tool can easily import information to generate dynamic reports that can be accessed via a Web browser. The Sunset Group depends on Talend to bridge its current applications, and this saves considerable time and money when it comes to building custom interfaces. Having the open source community support the Talend tool allows us to take prebuilt components and string them together to produce workflows without having to write much code. And that is a huge productivity boost. For example, we are planning to build a custom connector to access the SAP Business One database for merging data. Without an open source tool like Open Studio, this would be a much more time and resource-intensive undertaking. In addition to these ETL tasks, we use Talend Open Studio for application synchronization. One example is that since some of our smaller divisions or subsidiaries cannot afford SAP licenses, one of our travel agencies uses Talend to pull information from their system and port it to our customer relationship management system. As a result, we now have two systems integrated into one and the travel agency is feeding information online to our corporate servers. Previously, with hand coding, it would take a month to develop a process for pulling data; now we can do it in four days.
STRENGTHS: Strengths of the product include: processing data flows from disparate information sources; an open source, enterprise-class data integration tool; the ability to support multiple typologies of data integration projects, like ETL and synchronization; and business-oriented process modeling that ensures direct communication between IT and business stakeholders. Additionally, built-in data quality capabilities enable us to scrub information during loading.
WEAKNESSES: There are some limitations in the open source nature of the tool. For example, Talend Open Studio does not support multiuser development and does not provide real-time integration capabilities. The enterprise version, Talend Integration Suite, which Talend provides under a subscription license, does remove these limitations, and we are planning to upgrade at some point in the future.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Initially, Sunset Group considered a homegrown solution, but we quickly realized that the hand-coding requirements to accomplish our data integration objectives were far too complex and costly. This prompted a review of several solutions. After performing an exhaustive and in-depth evaluation, we selected Talend’s Open Studio because of its ability to handle multiple types of data integration requirements and because it’s optimized for enterprise-class integration.
DELIVERABLES: Talend Open Source solves a great deal of the data integration complexity issues previously faced by Sunset Group. Because data integration is an intricate, multistep process of moving and combining data across an information system, the right data must be extracted from different sources such as databases, files, applications and Web services. Transforming that data through joins, lookups, calculations and/or deduplication to fit operations is also required. The third leg of this stool involves loading the right data into target systems. Talend Open Studio performs these complex tasks transparently.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We signed up for a support contract from Talend pre and post-implementation, which has been superior. But community support via the forums also provides invaluable help.
DOCUMENTATION: While the documentation for Talend Open Source is solid, the graphical development environment is so intuitive that we haven’t had to rely on documentation.
Talend Open Studio
105 Fremont Ave, Suite F
Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 396 7738
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