Coglin Mill Debuts Lower Cost Versions of ETL Tools
April 8, 2008 Alex Woodie
Coglin Mill last week unveiled several special versions of RODIN, its extract, transform, and load (ETL) tool for creating DB2/400 data warehouses, at the COMMON conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The first new version is targeted at DB2 Web Query, the new business intelligence (BI) software from IBM. Other new versions of Coglin Mill are designed for small and mid size businesses, and start as low as $5,400 per year.
Talk to 10 people about DB2 Web Query, and you’re likely to get 10 different responses. Some people love it, while others hate it. Although the tool has definitely caused waves among the platform’s users and its software vendors, Coglin Mill has taken a more pragmatic approach. Namely, the company recognizes that the software may have its faults, but it values the spotlight DB2 Web Query has shed on the topic of System i business intelligence, and so they’re doing their best to support it.
The result of that effort is a special version of RODIN, the advanced RPG-based ETL tool that is used to build and maintain data warehouses, data marts, and operational data stores on i-based Power Systems servers (previously known as AS/400, iSeries, i5, and, before last Wednesday, the System i).
With RODIN DB2 Web Query Edition, DB2 Web Query users gain a more rational and regimented process for defining their System i-based data warehouse, making it easier to maintain and grow their data warehouse into the future, Coglin Mill says.
Basically, this new product aims to make it easier to manage metadata in a DB2 Web Query environment. Metadata is data about data; in other words, a description of the type of data you’re looking at. As programmers build a data repository for DB2 Web Query, they must add metadata to the various tables, so they (or their replacements 10 years down the line) know what they’re dealing with.
Unfortunately, DB2 Web Query does not present a very good metadata interface, according to Alan Jordan, vice president of business development for Coglin Mill, which is based in AS/400-ville, also known as Rochester, Minnesota. The width of the field for entering metadata is also restricted in DB2 Web Query, which could lead to trouble when the data store is expanded or modified, the company says.
Instead of suffering with DB2 Web Query’s limited metadata tag model, Coglin Mill is encouraging users to manage their DB2 Web Query metadata from within RODIN, which offers an unlimited space for metadata tags. As a result of using RODIN with DB2 Web Query, data warehouse managers and report authors won’t have to guess at the meaning or usage of a table or column in DB2 Web Query, the company says.
Another benefit of using RODIN to manage DB2 Web Query environments, Coglin Mill says, is RODIN allows users to define subject area models, also known as star-schema data marts. In this way, users have more powerful ways of managing the logical join relationships between tables, the company says.
Coglin Mill also unveiled several new versions of RODIN aimed at attracting small and mid size businesses. RODIN Select Edition, as the product is called, contains all the base ETL functionality of RODIN, but removes some of the more advanced options. The company expects the software to be well accepted by smaller companies, which traditionally haven’t invested in BI tools as much as the larger customers. And with customers like HSBC Bank, Caterpillar Logistics, and Office Depot Europe, Coglin Mill has some marquee System i shops as customers.
The new versions of RODIN are available now. RODIN DB2 Web Query Edition licenses start at $7,200. RODIN Select Edition is sold on an annual subscription basis, starting at $5,400 per year. For more information, visit www.coglinmill.com.