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Informatica PowerCenter 8x Key Concepts

We shall look at the fundamental components of the Informatica PowerCenter 8.x Suite,
the key components are

1. PowerCenter Domain
2. PowerCenter Repository
3. Administration Console
4. PowerCenter Client
5. Repository Service
6. Integration Service

1. PowerCenter Domain
A domain is the primary unit for management and administration of services in
PowerCenter. Node, Service Manager and Application Services are components of a

Node is the logical representation of a machine in a domain. The machine in which the
PowerCenter is installed acts as a Domain and also as a primary node. We can add other
machines as nodes in the domain and configure the nodes to run application services such
as the Integration Service or Repository Service. All service requests from other nodes in
the domain go through the primary node also called as ‘master gateway’.

The Service Manager

The Service Manager runs on each node within a domain and is responsible for starting
and running the application services. The Service Manager performs the following
• Alerts. Provides notifications of events like shutdowns, restart
• Authentication. Authenticates user requests from the Administration Console,
PowerCenter Client, Metadata Manager, and Data Analyzer
• Domain configuration. Manages configuration details of the domain like machine
name, port
• Node configuration. Manages configuration details of a node metadata like
machine name, port
• Licensing. When an application service connects to the domain for the first time
the licensing registration is performed and for subsequent connections the
licensing information is verified
• Logging. Manages the event logs from each service, the messages could be
‘Error’, ‘Warning’, ‘Info’
• User management. Manages users, groups, roles, and privileges

Application services
The services that essentially perform data movement, connect to different data sources
and manage data are called Application services, they are namely Repository Service,
Integration Service, Web Services Hub, SAPBW Service, Reporting Service and
Metadata Manager Service. The application services run on each node based on the way
we configure the node and the application service.

Domain Configuration
Some of the configurations for a domain involves assigning host name, port numbers to
the nodes, setting up Resilience Timeout values, providing connection information of
metadata Database, SMTP details etc. All the Configuration information for a domain is
stored in a set of relational database tables within the repository. Some of the global
properties that are applicable for Application Services like ‘Maximum Restart Attempts’,
‘Dispatch Mode’ as ‘Round Robin’/’Metric Based’/’Adaptive’ etc are configured under
Domain Configuration.

2. PowerCenter Repository
The PowerCenter Repository is one of best metadata storage among all ETL products.
The repository is sufficiently normalized to store metadata at a very detail level; which in
turn means the Updates to the repository are very quick and the overall Team-based
Development is smooth. The repository data structure is also useful for the users to do
analysis and reporting.

Accessibility to the repository through MX views and SDK kit extends the repositories
capability from a simple storage of technical data to a database for analysis of the ETL

PowerCenter Repository is a collection of 355 tables which can be created on any major
relational database. The kinds of information that are stored in the repository are,
1. Repository configuration details
2. Mappings
3. Workflows
4. User Security
5. Process Data of session runs

For a quick understanding,

When a user creates a folder, corresponding entries are made into table OPB_SUBJECT;
attributes like folder name, owner id, type of the folder like shared or not are all stored.
When we create\import sources and define field names, datatypes etc in source analyzer
entries are made into opb_src and OPB_SRC_FLD.
When target and related fields are created/imported from any database entries are made
into tables like OPB_TARG and OPB_TARG_FLD.
Table OPB_MAPPING stores mapping attributes like Mapping Name, Folder Id, Valid
status and mapping comments.
Table OPB_WIDGET stores attributes like widget type, widget name, comments etc.
Widgets are nothing but the Transformations which Informatica internally calls them as
Table OPB_SESSION stores configurations related to a session task and table
OPB_CNX_ATTR stores information related to connection objects.
Table OPB_WFLOW_RUN stores process details like workflow name, workflow started
time, workflow completed time, server node it ran etc.
the many views created over these tables.

PowerCenter applications access the PowerCenter repository through the Repository

Service. The Repository Service protects metadata in the repository by managing
repository connections and using object-locking to ensure object consistency.

We can create a repository as global or local. We can go for’ global’ to store common
objects that multiple developers can use through shortcuts and go for local repository to
perform of development mappings and workflows. From a local repository, we can create
shortcuts to objects in shared folders in the global repository. PowerCenter supports
versioning. A versioned repository can store multiple versions of an object.

3. Administration Console
The Administration Console is a web application that we use to administer the
PowerCenter domain and PowerCenter security. There are two pages in the console,
Domain Page & Security Page.

We can do the following In Domain Page:

o Create & manage application services like Integration Service and Repository
o Create and manage nodes, licenses and folders
o Restart and shutdown nodes
o View log events
o Other domain management tasks like applying licenses and managing grids and
We can do the following in Security Page:
o Create, edit and delete native users and groups
o Configure a connection to an LDAP directory service. Import users and groups
from the LDAP directory service
o Create, edit and delete Roles (Roles are collections of privileges)
o Assign roles and privileges to users and groups
o Create, edit, and delete operating system profiles. An operating system profile is
a level of security that the Integration Services uses to run workflows.

4. PowerCenter Client
Designer, Workflow Manager, Workflow Monitor, Repository Manager & Data
Stencil are five client tools that are used to design mappings, Mapplets, create
sessions to load data and manage repository.
Mapping is an ETL code pictorially depicting logical data flow from source to target
involving transformations of the data. Designer is the tool to create mappings
Designer has five window panes, Source Analyzer, Warehouse Designer,
Transformation Developer, Mapping Designer and Mapplet Designer.
Source Analyzer:
Allows us to import Source table metadata from Relational databases, flat files, XML
and COBOL files. We can only import the source definition in the source Analyzer
and not the source data itself is to be understood. Source Analyzer also allows us to
define our own Source data definition.

Warehouse Designer:
Allows us to import target table definitions which could be Relational databases, flat
files, XML and COBOL files. We can also create target definitions manually and can
group them into folders. There is an option to create the tables physically in the
database that we do not have in source analyzer. Warehouse designer doesn’t allow
creating two tables with same name even if the columns names under them vary or
they are from different databases/schemas.

Transformation Developer:
Transformations like Filters, Lookups, Expressions etc that have scope to be re-used
are developed in this pane. Alternatively Transformations developed in Mapping
Designer can also be reused by checking the option‘re-use’ and by that it would be
displayed under Transformation Developer folders.

Mapping Designer:
This is the place where we actually depict our ETL process; we bring in source
definitions, target definitions, transformations like filter, lookup, aggregate and
develop a logical ETL program. In this place it is only a logical program because the
actual data load can be done only by creating a session and workflow.

Mapplet Designer:
We create a set of transformations to be used and re-used across mappings.

Workflow Manager :
In the Workflow Manager, we define a set of instructions called a workflow to
execute mappings we build in the Designer. Generally, a workflow contains a session
and any other task we may want to perform when we run a session. Tasks can include
a session, email notification, or scheduling information.

A set of tasks grouped together becomes worklet. After we create a workflow, we run
the workflow in the Workflow Manager and monitor it in the Workflow Monitor.
Workflow Manager has following three window panes,Task Developer, Create tasks
we want to accomplish in the workflow. Worklet Designer, Create a worklet in the
Worklet Designer. A worklet is an object that groups a set of tasks. A worklet is
similar to a workflow, but without scheduling information. You can nest worklets
inside a workflow. Workflow Designer, Create a workflow by connecting tasks with
links in the Workflow Designer. We can also create tasks in the Workflow Designer
as you develop the workflow. The ODBC connection details are defined in Workflow
Manager “Connections “ Menu .
Workflow Monitor:
We can monitor workflows and tasks in the Workflow Monitor. We can view details
about a workflow or task in Gantt Chart view or Task view. We can run, stop, abort,
and resume workflows from the Workflow Monitor. We can view sessions and
workflow log events in the Workflow Monitor Log Viewer.

The Workflow Monitor displays workflows that have run at least once. The
Workflow Monitor continuously receives information from the Integration Service
and Repository Service. It also fetches information from the repository to display
historic information.
The Workflow Monitor consists of the following windows:
Navigator window – Displays monitored repositories, servers, and repositories
Output window – Displays messages from the Integration Service and Repository
Time window – Displays progress of workflow runs.
Gantt chart view – Displays details about workflow runs in chronological format.
Task view – Displays details about workflow runs in a report format.

Repository Manager

We can navigate through multiple folders and repositories and perform basic
repository tasks with the Repository Manager. We use the Repository Manager to
complete the following tasks:
1. Add and connect to a repository, we can add repositories to the Navigator window
and client registry and then connect to the repositories.
2. Work with PowerCenter domain and repository connections, we can edit or remove
domain connection information. We can connect to one repository or multiple
repositories. We can export repository connection information from the client
registry to a file. We can import the file on a different machine and add the
repository connection information to the client registry.
3. Change your password. We can change the password for our user account.
4. Search for repository objects or keywords. We can search for repository objects
containing specified text. If we add keywords to target definitions, use a keyword
to search for a target definition.
5. View objects dependencies. Before we remove or change an object, we can view
dependencies to see the impact on other objects.
6. Compare repository objects. In the Repository Manager, wecan compare two
repository objects of the same type to identify differences between the objects.
7. Truncate session and workflow log entries. we can truncate the list of session and
workflow logs that the Integration Service writes to the repository. we can
truncate all logs, or truncate all logs older than a specified date.

5. Repository Service
As we already discussed about metadata repository, now we discuss a separate,multi-
threaded process that retrieves, inserts and updates metadata in the repository database
tables, it is Repository Service.
Repository service manages connections to the PowerCenter repository from
PowerCenter client applications like Desinger, Workflow Manager, Monitor, Repository
manager, console and integration service. Repository service is responsible for ensuring
the consistency of metdata in the repository.

Creation & Properties:

Use the PowerCenter Administration Console Navigator window to create a Repository
Service. The properties needed to create are,
Service Name – name of the service like rep_SalesPerformanceDev
Location – Domain and folder where the service is created
License – license service name
Node, Primary Node & Backup Nodes – Node on which the service process runs
CodePage – The Repository Service uses the character set encoded in the repository code
page when writing data to the repository
Database type & details – Type of database, username, pwd, connect string and
The above properties are sufficient to create a repository service, however we can take a
look at following features which are important for better performance and maintenance.

General Properties
> OperatingMode: Values are Normal and Exclusive. Use Exclusive mode to perform
administrative tasks like enabling version control or promoting local to global repository
> EnableVersionControl: Creates a versioned repository.

Node Assignments: “High availability option” is licensed feature which allows us to

choose Primary & Backup nodes for continuous running of the repository service. Under
normal licenses would see only Node to select from.

Database Properties
> DatabaseArrayOperationSize: Number of rows to fetch each time an array database
operation is issued, such as insert or fetch. Default is 100
> DatabasePoolSize: Maximum number of connections to the repository database that the
Repository Service can establish. If the Repository Service tries to establish more
connections than specified for DatabasePoolSize, it times out the connection attempt after
the number of seconds specified for Database Connection Timeout.

Advanced Properties
> CommentsRequiredFor Checkin: Requires users to add comments when checking in
repository objects.
> Error Severity Level: Level of error messages written to the Repository Service log.
Specify one of the following message levels: Fatal, Error, Warning, Info, Trace & Debug
> EnableRepAgentCaching:Enables repository agent caching. Repository agent caching
provides optimal performance of the repository when you run workflows. When you
enable repository agent caching, the Repository Service process caches metadata
requested by the Integration Service. Default is Yes.
> RACacheCapacity:Number of objects that the cache can contain when repository agent
caching is enabled. You can increase the number of objects if there is available memory
on the machine running the Repository Service process. The value must be between 100
and 10,000,000,000. Default is 10,000
> AllowWritesWithRACaching: Allows you to modify metadata in the repository when
repository agent caching is enabled. When you allow writes, the Repository Service
process flushes the cache each time you save metadata through the PowerCenter Client
tools. You might want to disable writes to improve performance in a production
environment where the Integration Service makes all changes to repository metadata.
Default is Yes.

Environment Variables
The database client code page on a node is usually controlled by an environment variable.
For example, Oracle uses NLS_LANG, and IBM DB2 uses DB2CODEPAGE. All
Integration Services and Repository Services that run on this node use the same
environment variable. You can configure a Repository Service process to use a different
value for the database client code page environment variable than the value set for the
You might want to configure the code page environment variable for a Repository
Service process when the Repository Service process requires a different database client
code page than the Integration Service process running on the same node.
For example, the Integration Service reads from and writes to databases using the UTF-8
code page. The Integration Service requires that the code page environment variable be
set to UTF-8. However, you have a Shift-JIS repository that requires that the code page
environment variable be set to Shift-JIS. Set the environment variable on the node to
UTF-8. Then add the environment variable to the Repository Service process properties
and set the value to Shift-JIS.

6. Integration Service (IS)

The key functions of IS are
• Interpretation of the workflow and mapping metadata from the repository.
• Execution of the instructions in the metadata
• Manages the data from source system to target system within the memory and
The main three components of Integration Service which enable data movement are,
• Integration Service Process
• Load Balancer
• Data Transformation Manager

1. Integration Service Process (ISP)

The Integration Service starts one or more Integration Service processes to run and
monitor workflows. When we run a workflow, the ISP starts and locks the workflow,
runs the workflow tasks, and starts the process to run sessions. The functions of the
Integration Service Process are,
• Locks and reads the workflow
• Manages workflow scheduling, ie, maintains session dependency
• Reads the workflow parameter file
• Creates the workflow log
• Runs workflow tasks and evaluates the conditional links
• Starts the DTM process to run the session
• Writes historical run information to the repository
• Sends post-session emails.

2 Load Balancer
The Load Balancer dispatches tasks to achieve optimal performance. It dispatches tasks
to a single node or across the nodes in a grid after performing a sequence of steps. Before
understanding these steps we have to know about Resources, Resource Provision
Thresholds, Dispatch mode and Service levels
• Resources – we can configure the Integration Service to check the resources
available on each node and match them with the resources required to run the task.
For example, if a session uses an SAP source, the Load Balancer dispatches the
session only to nodes where the SAP client is installed
• Three Resource Provision Thresholds, The maximum number of runnable
threads waiting for CPU resources on the node called Maximum CPU Run Queue
Length. The maximum percentage of virtual memory allocated on the node relative
to the total physical memory size called Maximum Memory %. The maximum
number of running Session and Command tasks allowed for each Integration Service
process running on the node called Maximum Processes
• Three Dispatch mode’s – Round-Robin: The Load Balancer dispatches tasks to
available nodes in a round-robin fashion after checking the “Maximum Process”
threshold. Metric-based: Checks all the three resource provision thresholds and
dispatches tasks in round robin fashion. Adaptive: Checks all the three resource
provision thresholds and also ranks nodes according to current CPU availability
• Service Levels establishes priority among tasks that are waiting to be dispatched,
the three components of service levels are Name, Dispatch Priority and Maximum
dispatch wait time. “Maximum dispatch wait time” is the amount of time a task can
wait in queue and this ensures no task waits forever.

A .Dispatching Tasks on a node:

1. The Load Balancer checks different resource provision thresholds on the node
depending on the Dispatch mode set. If dispatching the task causes any threshold to
be exceeded, the Load Balancer places the task in the dispatch queue, and it
dispatches the task later
2. The Load Balancer dispatches all tasks to the node that runs the master
Integration Service process

B. Dispatching Tasks on a grid:

1. The Load Balancer verifies which nodes are currently running and enabled
2. The Load Balancer identifies nodes that have the PowerCenter resources required
by the tasks in the workflow
3. The Load Balancer verifies that the resource provision thresholds on each
candidate node are not exceeded. If dispatching the task causes a threshold to be
exceeded, the Load Balancer places the task in the dispatch queue, and it dispatches
the task later
4. The Load Balancer selects a node based on the dispatch mode.

3 Data Transformation Manager (DTM) Process:

When the workflow reaches a session, the Integration Service Process starts the DTM
process. The DTM is the process associated with the session task. The DTM process
performs the following tasks:
• Retrieves and validates session information from the repository.
• Validates source and target code pages.
• Verifies connection object permissions.
• Performs pushdown optimization when the session is configured for pushdown
• Adds partitions to the session when the session is configured for dynamic
• Expands the service process variables, session parameters, and mapping variables
and parameters.
• Creates the session log.
• Runs pre-session shell commands, stored procedures, and SQL.
• Sends a request to start worker DTM processes on other nodes when the session is
configured to run on a grid.
• Creates and runs mapping, reader, writer, and transformation threads to extract,
transform, and load data
• Runs post-session stored procedures, SQL, and shell commands and sends post-
session email
• After the session is complete, reports execution result to ISP.