Oracle Data Integrator
Oracle has long been the world’s largest RDBMS vendor and is now a global provider of enterprise cloud computing, offering software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and data as a service capabilities. The company employs more than 132,000 people worldwide. With over 430,000 customers and deployments, Oracle offers a comprehensive stack of cloud applications, platform services and engineered systems.
Over the years, a strong data management offering for data and analytics has developed. For a long time, the focus was on the Oracle database (including the Oracle Data Warehouse Builder). In the area of data and analytics, the Oracle portfolio includes data integration and data quality solutions, solutions for master data management, industry solutions, IoT solutions and more. For data storage, Oracle offers not only the Oracle database but also systems optimized for analysis. For on-premises installations, Oracle Exadata and the Oracle Big Data Appliance offer powerful massively parallel query engines, which are delivered pre-configured with the appropriate hardware. These technologies are also available in the cloud. Here, Oracle pushes the Autonomous Data Warehouse, a cloud database service, which can serve different workloads for BI and analytics or transactional workloads. In addition, NoSQL database services are available for the implementation of special applications.
Oracle has offered various data integration products in the past, such as Oracle Warehouse Builder, but since the acquisition of Sunopsis in 2006 and Golden Gate in 2009, it has developed a clear strategy consisting of a series of products under the general heading Oracle Fusion Middleware.
The Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) product was bought and subsequently renamed as part of the acquisition of French software company Sunopsis in 2006. Sunopsis was providing solutions for data warehousing with functions for data synchronization, data integration, data migration and master data management. However, since Sunopsis was already selling its own ‘Oracle Warehouse Builder’, two similar products were available for several years until they were merged into one: ODI (Enterprise Edition) in 2010. ODI uses a graphical user interface to create ELT processes. Oracle continues to release new versions of ODI as on-premises installations, and it is available on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) via the OCI Marketplace. A hybrid configuration is also possible. ODI is fully integrated with the Oracle technology environment.
The ODI user interface consists of four navigators: Topology, Designer, Operator and Security. With the Topology Navigator, users can define the physical architecture, the contexts and the logical architecture. The Designer Navigator is for building projects, models, load plans and scenarios. The Operator Navigator acts as a monitoring and production management tool, while security information is managed in the Security Navigator. The tool offers a broad range of connectivity and, like most of the mature ETL tools on the market, ODI provides good development support.
What makes ODI special besides the ELT (as opposed to ETL) approach are the Knowledge Modules (KM), which help to increase development speed. KMs are a core part of ODI as they determine “how” integration processes occur. A KM is a code template for a specific integration task. At runtime, ODI sends this code to the source and target systems for execution. Knowledge Modules are extensible, and their code is open and can be edited through a graphical user interface. There are six KM module types: Reverse Engineering, Loading, Controlling, Integration, Journalization and Services. Imported functions in each area can be used automatically in the ETL process.
User & Use Cases
The purpose of ODI is clear: 100 percent of users are using the tool for data integration and 72 percent are using it for data warehousing and BI. Also, 59 percent of companies are using the tool for data warehouse automation, which is high in comparison to its competitors in the Data Pipelining Products peer group. For automation, users can take advantage of tool functionality or Knowledge Modules, which can help to automate integration steps. A relatively high share (31 percent) is using ODI with data lakes and 31 percent are also using it for data preparation for business users. While we have an idea that there are valuable features included to ingest data in a data lake, technical expertise is needed, at least in SQL.
ODI is not widely used within companies, as shown by the median of 10 and mean of 15 users. These figures indicate that only a few experts are using the tool. When business users get their hands on a software product, average user numbers shoot up. The mean of 11 administrators in combination with the user numbers above suggests that a high level of technical expertise is required to use the product.
Total number of users per company
Total number of administrators per company
Company size (number of employees)
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