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“Ab Initio Co>operation system”, which is primarily a GUI based ETL Application. It gives user the ability to drag and drop different components and attach them, quite akin to drawing. The strength of Ab Initio-ETL is massively parallel processing which gives it capability of handling large volume of data. Let’s componentise Ab Initio 1. Co>operation System 2. EME(Enterprise Meta>Environment) 3. Additional Tools a. Data profiler b. Plan-IT etc Co>operating System is ETL application; it comes packaged with EME (mentioned in next paragraph). This is GUI based application. Quite simple is design due to drag and drop features, most of the features are quite basic and so basic learning curve is quite steep. Now it has further two flavour or sub classes: 1. Batch Mode 2. Continuous Flow The both primarily doing the similar things, but classically different in mode of processing as the name suggested. The “Batch Mode” is primarily used by most of costumer gives the benefit of moving bulk data (daily/multiple times a day). Continuous mode is more like “Click/Trigger” driven; say when you click on a web page the data flow starts, some of very large web based application run on Ab Initio server using Continuous flow EME is more like source control for Ab Initio, but it has many additional features like 1. Meta data management a. Business Metadata management b. Process metadata management 2. Impact Analysis 3. Documentation tools 4. Run History Tracking 5. And surely Check-in and check-out Ab Initio has come up with certain other application to complement the ETL suite; I will not be covering these in details, just one liner Data profiler – It is data profiling tool, got the features for data quality analysis Plan-IT – It is primarily a scheduler built by Ab Initio to run Ab Initio jobs. It can be integrated with Ab Initio jobs.
Work for an Organisation who own Ab initio 2. 2. There are only handful of organisation who train in Ab Initio. so employing these resources come with premium price. with cost ranging from 500k to 5M. it can work in various platforms. Cost to purchase(4) Total Cost of Ownership(4) Platform (OS and DBMS)(8) Ease of use (wizards. . Comparing it with other major ETL tools like Informatica with similar functionalities. 8. 7. 1. This number may differ based on the NDA and initial investment. Additionally Ab Initio is such a close community. so the developer community is not massive like many open source application. I am giving each section points from 1 to 10(10 being best) based on my own experience and some reference from web. Development cost – covered under training and resources Available Expertise/Ab Initio Resources (training/employing) It is high end tool. 5. it depends upon the number of servers Ab Initio is installed. the pricing difference will be clearly evident Total Cost of Ownership – The cost of ownership comes in 3 parts a) Annual maintenance charges b) Cost of employing/training Ab initio resources c) Development cost Annual Maintenance charges – It is generally the percentage of initial cost and it is significant due to high initial cost. A rough 10% maintenance charges is significant outflow.Categorising Ab Initio and labelling strength and weakness based on the following criteria. drag & drop. and batch flow is comparatively cheaper than continuous flow. so if you are ETL developer and want to explore/learn Ab Initio generally you will hit a wall and as I recall really there are 2 options 1. number of developer license and type of license. 4. etc)(8) Learning curve(6) Performance(9) Available expertise(7) Ab Initio Support and Other Resources(5) Cost of Purchase – It is one of the costliest ETL tool in the market. 3. 6. so pay a premium to join the club Platform – Like most of other ETL tools.
Missing Input from other communities having parallel functionalities and smaller developer pool restricts better ideas/inputs Though Ab Initio provides training for users (costumers). I guess learning time of about 15 man days for a programmer with about 2-3 years experience will give enough fluency in designing application Part of learning curve is covered in next section Ab Initio Support and other resources – Covering both topics in one go – Ab Initio is treating their application like a fort/sacred book. 1. but it takes generally long turnaround time Performance – I left this topic at end. it is of decent quality. Ab Initio provide support to their customers. the difficult components can take some time. Not enough resources on web 2. I believe some of other ETL tools may not have native mode supported Ease of use – Being GUI based it is easy to use. So there is nothing to choose between this tool with respect to others. Unavailability of training material hurt training new employees Just like any application/scripting language. there is not enough information material on web. but it does not cover each and every aspect of Ab Initio and advanced training comes with a cost. simple component s. so as a consequence. Creating custom based components and re-using those is one feature. Hit productivity of team. I really believe lack of proper training and open discussion has hit Ab Initio developers really hard. No Access or standard set of best practices. where they missing and still groping in dark having following set of problems 1. Ab Initio has designed certain components very cleverly. It allows connection to DB either by ODBC client or native mode. it can connect to all the major databases available in the market. with little information and literature available on the market. there is nothing much to chose in that end. as this is the reason Ab Initio is used . Organisation tend to have their own best practices if any and under tough external review generally these will fall much short of best 2. but it is okay Learning Curve – Learning curve is quick to start with. it takes bit of experience to utilize those optimally and take bit of time. drag and drop and various indicators if connections are not completely made. I really liked in Ab Initio There are certain set of components which are difficult to use and may require bit of scripting experience. In comparison to other tools. there is potential of not using the application optimally. when struck with a technical/design issue 3.On Database front.
in past. where time is of essence and performance and through put is critical. c. it is possible to design a system using Ab Initio architect where any additional processing power can be achieved by adding additional resources in parallel. Though these are not critical essentially. but in time critical system. Some new scripting features known as PDL (Program definition Language) in Ab Initio allows flexibility.For massive data processing. Ab Initio components like compressed indexed files and similar gives Ab initio an edge when dealing with huge dataset. Theoretically. Ab Initio stands head and shoulder above others. Personal perception: Ab Initio has put some effort in component design taking care of small issues like memory management/memory foot print. these provide an edge. Though this concept is not unheard of. but Ab Initio implemented it successfully. Available data can be split and processed in parallel giving it huge processing advantage. Innovative component a. which is quite well received by Ab Initio developers and not easily available in other ETL tools. thus allowing any scale-up easy and possible 2. Massively parallel Architecture a. . 1. b. b.
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