Q:

We are looking to implement a new messaging/middleware tool before our existing middleware tool causes havoc or grinds to a halt. What are the pros and cons of EAI vs ETL as a messaging/middleware tool? My gut feeling is EAI, but I need to back up my instincts with something more concrete.

A:

Les Barbusinski’s Answer: As a general rule, ETL tools are batch-oriented and ill suited for messaging… especially synchronous messaging. They do not provide queuing, guaranteed one- time delivery, dynamic message routing, message “subscription,” message monitoring or any of the usual features associated with message-oriented middleware (MOM) tools. Their strength lies in their ability to efficiently cleanse, integrate and aggregate large volumes of bulk data that require synchronization and/or complex transformations, usually involving multiple look ups or correlation with other data sources to produce a desired output structure. EAI tools, on the other hand, provide all of the expected MOM features, as well as some integration and transformation services. They excel at moving large volumes of relatively small data blocks (a.k.a. messages), while performing simple transformations. Conversely, they are usually not well suited to handling complex transformations involving random look ups and/or synchronization across several data sources.

You may want to consider using both technologies: EAI for messaging and bulk data transfers, and ETL for complex data integration and transformation work.

Doug Hackney’s Answer: Contact Neil Raden at Archer Decision Sciences (nraden@archer- decision.com). He has done some work in implementation of both of these technologies and has some good thinking on their relative strengths and weaknesses.

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