Smart Appliance Eases BI Projects with IBM System i Data

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), a California-based educational institution, is using the innovative Smart i Appliance to improve its ability to use data from IBM’s System i for business intelligence.  The Smart i Appliance is a collaboration among IBM, Key Information Systems, Talend and Systech Solutions.

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The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), a California-based educational institution, is using the innovative Smart i Appliance to improve its ability to use data from IBM’s System i for business intelligence. 

The Smart i Appliance is a collaboration among IBM, Key Information Systems, Talend and Systech Solutions.

The appliance bundles IBM's DB2 Web Query and Talend's extract, transfer, and load (ETL) software onto an IBM Power Systems server, and is installed with services from Key and Systech Solutions.  The aim of the Smart i appliance is to power BI workloads using the IBM System i (AS/400) with little work needed to install and configure the BI solution.

“FIDM executives need to access up-to-date, reliable data from our systems to be able to make key business decisions,” said Roxanne Reynolds-Lair, FIDM’s CIO said in a statement. “Talend’s [ETL] tool within the Smart i Appliance expedited our ETL processing, making it two to three times faster than before. This is a huge benefit for us, and it enables our team to retrieve accurate, timely reports that make a significant business impact.”

In fact, Reynolds-Lair her lack of a strong ETL solution to handle FIDM data was a driving factor if the decision to install the Smart i Appliance. FIDM’s previous ETL tool was unreliable, which meant the company’s CFO was often making decisions based on day-old data and manual calculations, she added.

FIDM will use Talend to extract and load data, to integrate all Talend jobs and control the overall data process flow. Moreover, because the Talend system gives FIDM executives access to accurate BI reports much earlier they are better able to make informed business decisions, FIDM officials said.

Inside Talend’s ETL Support for BI
One key element of the Smart i Appliance FIDM found attractive is  Talend's ETL tool which was recently updated to support change data capture for DB2/400. 

Talend’s ETL capability is part of its Talend Integration Suite, the first Open Source enterprise data integration solution designed to support multi-user development, and to scale to support high levels of data volume and complexity.

Talend Integration Suite also provides a Shared Repository, designed to consolidate all project information and enterprise metadata in a centralized repository shared by all stakeholders in the integration processes: business users, job developers, and IT operations staff -- all of whom can access the same, single version of the truth.

Talend's latest update to its Integration Suite (version 3.2) also includes:

  • Business Rules Driven Integration: A new embedded rules engine allows business users to define rules interpreted at run-time. Users can change the behavior of the data integration processes by redefining rules through a user friendly interface, without involving IT.
  • Log-Based Changed Data Capture: Changed Data Capture (CDC), based on database logs for Oracle, DB2/400 (IBM System i) and Microsoft SQL Server.
  • Error Recovery Management: Data integration processes can now include recovery checkpoints. In case of failure, processes can be resumed from one of the checkpoints. Dynamic instructions can also be provided to IT operations, instructing them how to react to specific error conditions.
  • Migration and Replication Automation: New features automatically create migration and/or replication processes based on metadata discovery while supporting heterogeneous environments, thus greatly accelerating migration and replication tasks.


To speed design-time aspects of BI projects, Talend’s Shared Repository also features advanced collaboration capabilities that include object-level check-in and check-out, as well as users, roles, permissions & privileges management.  This promotes deeper collaboration among team members, allowing them to store and share business models, integration jobs, and metadata in an industry-standard source manager (SVN), according to Talend.

FIDM will employ Systech Solutions to implement the Smart i Appliance, under the agreement. Systech uses Talend’s software to help develop and implement robust systems that support extensive data integration needs.




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