“It’s time to more aggressively pursue holistic Data Management,” says David Friedland, IRI VP of Business Development. “Marshalling all your data together in a centralized area,” so that everyone whose activities require access to it can perform their work in a less siloed and more shared way. That’s the message from IRI, which is well-known for its CoSort Data Manipulation and Transformation solution. CoSort is the default engine in its Voracity technology, the total Data Management Platform originally announced at the end of 2015.
IRI’s most recent effort around the Voracity platform was its announcement in late March 2017 of a partnership with AnalytiX DS. AnalytiX patrons will benefit from IRI’s cost-effective ETL operations, as well as its sensitive data masking, data cleansing, test data generation, embedded Business Intelligence, and data blending functions plus its metadata-driven automation and release management, while AnalytiX will provide Voracity customers access to its metadata-enabled Data Governance, Data Lineage and Data Quality capabilities.
As the new flagship offering for IRI, Voracity is the foundation upon which the company wants to bring myriad data worlds together – those of Database Administrators, Data Warehouse Operators, BI Analysts, Data Governance Officers, Data Architects, and Data Scientists. It sets out to achieve that with a consolidated approach to discovering, automatically classifying and applying rules to data, and integrating, migrating, and analyzing it.
“That saves time and money versus buying specialty software tools,” says Friedland. “It lets people with different roles in an organization connect to all different data sources, define targets, securely manage data through the lifecycle and do what they need to do with it, alone or together.”
And with the specialization that AnalytiX brings in the way of compatible modules based on API-level integration of Metadata, it becomes possible to more rapidly assess the quality or sensitivity of data for streamlining Data Governance and for offering more granular control over who can access what data and what they can do with it, such as making changes. (Voracity does, on its own, include identity-based access management and workflow authorization to help keep every data operation, and everyone involved in it, straight and honest, too). Automated data mappings and code building means you can stand up Data Lakes, Data Warehouses, and data migration environments in weeks, not months, according to IRI.
Getting Data in Hand
Voracity comes to the table with a variety of capabilities to employ as part of implementing Data Governance and security in critical operations. “A big part of our governance capability is to do data masking as a separate activity or as part of activities like ETL and reporting and data migration,” Friedland says.
Having data masked either statically or dynamically is important in a variety of scenarios, such as healthcare, financial services, government or education use cases that involve personally identifiable information (PII). “They all have their own rules about what you can and can’t use and how to protect it,” he says.
Another protection is built-in artificial test data generation, so that companies don’t have to use real product, services or other data, thereby closing some potentially dangerous doors. The Voracity Eclipse-enabled GUI, IRI Workbench, also can be leveraged as a database administration portal that lets users test the policies they set up in the company’s separate Chakra Max firewall for providing high-volume data-centric audit and protection (DCAP) for 20 popular databases.
While the connection is somewhat peripheral since Chakra Max is an individual solution for companies that need those specific capabilities, “if you use that to define access policies, database alerts and audit trails, then you can use Voracity as the base of your database operations,” says Friedland. “You define policies for who can connect to the database and what each person can do and it monitors that across the whole database. That’s a big deal.”
Meeting the Need for Speed
Superior data movement speed also is a feature of Voracity, thanks to its CoSort heritage. The company has spent decades finessing very high speed manipulation of very large files. “We commercialized sorting software off the mainframe, so that’s why we so good at manipulating Big Data so fast” – on normal commodity hardware, Friedland explains. That’s an advantage over some of the big name competitors it faces, “including IBM, Oracle, and Informatica,” he says.
It’s particularly so given that IRI gives customers the opportunity to do a bit of a rethink around data movement, manipulation, and management – or embark on a greenfield effort – at a lower cost of entry and ownership, Friedland says. He notes that IRI is a small company, non-VC-backed, and has been development- vs. acquisitions-focused, so its prices don’t have to reflect paying back investors and the cost of services and debt on acquisitions.
“Speed really is important in the manipulation and movement of data, particularly in the data integration area and certainly in the analytics area,” when it comes to reporting and data wrangling or blending, he says, noting the company has been working on data prep for BI since 2003. “You need to take data in lots of different sources that could be huge and boil it down so a BI or analytics tool can drive analysis or a visualized report off it,” he says. No BI tool is going to be happy trying to open a 3 GB file, never mind a 300 GB file or one that’s way bigger.
“We have the ability to connect to lots of different sources that could be gigantic, apply filters, sort things down and aggregate them, whittling them down to something that a BI tool can digest without choking and dying,” he says.
There are a variety of areas that Friedland says IRI is considering diving into as it further enhances Voracity. One goal is front-ending more of its back-end Data Quality capabilities by way of making them more graphical than they already are. Some of its seven or eight Data Quality operations already leverage wizards from its GUI and the goal is to create some more so that users won’t have to rely on scripts or dialogues to express data quality functionality.
Another area, he says, is to do more around Master Data Management (MDM). Some capabilities already exist, but IRI would like to grow Voracity’s maturity here to be more responsive to its customers’ specific needs, if not necessarily to lead the market. Other, bigger players, he notes, have been able to accrue MDM capabilities and build out at a faster pace, “but we want to take time and make we are more responsive to specific customer requests and that [features will be] tightly integrated into our whole infrastructure.”
Voracity is finding a market among a wide audience, from CIOs at medium-size businesses that can’t afford to contemplate cutting six- or seven figure checks to budget-conscious CIOs of bigger businesses. Recently it gained as a customer a department in one of the world’s leading consultancy and financial advisory firms that wants to do various greenfield projects that require its capabilities for analysis, reporting, ETL and in other areas.
“We can be their one-stop shop for Data Management,” Friedland says. “They pay a low entry and get access to a lot of different capabilities they would otherwise buy separately or go through a mega-vendor to get, and this department didn’t want to spend that kind of money when they figured they didn’t have to.”
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