Talend Open Studio 3.0
Powerful open-source data integration suite
- It's a free alternative to more powerful options; Business Modeler is a great feature; Excellent service and support
- Not strong on mainframe connectors; lack of industry-specific components; limited ELT support
For free software, Talend Open Studio offers a great deal to anyone looking for a powerful data integration. Despite some limitations, Open Studio 3.0 scales gracefully to meet enterprise integration demands and is an attractive alternative to hugely-expensive software or bespoke development
If any software market deserved to be shaken up by open source alternatives, it's enterprise data integration. Commercial, enterprise-grade integration tools - typically cobbled together from M&A and legacy patchworks - are notoriously unwieldy and impose an arduous learning curve. Complexity frequently stalls deployments by months, and aftermarket consulting can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the TCO.
Enter Talend to this land of stodgy giants. Talend hits all the highlights one would look for in traditional integration platforms: batch delivery, transforms, ETL (extract, transform, and load), data governance, and a strong set of connectivity adapters. At the same time it keeps pace with important trends with such features as change data capture, metadata support, federated views, and SOA-based access to data services. Talend is capable of scaling from small departmental file migrations to large-scale enterprise warehousing projects.
It may not yet surpass the master data management and messaging transform prowess of IBM Information Server, or the legacy and business-to-business domain expertise found in Informatica PowerCenter. But they offer substantial cost savings compared to these commercial counterparts, and their ability to shortcut complexity makes them additionally hard to resist.
Talend has developed a holistic integration platform from the ground up in a very short time. If the company continues on its current trajectory, it could do for data integration what open source has already accomplished for servers and databases.
New features in Version 3 go a long way toward bolstering enterprise viability. In addition to a native SAP connector (extract and sync), developers will appreciate component search, an ecosystem overview of projects, change impact analysis, and drag-and-drop metadata.
Perhaps most important, Talend has added change data capture (specifically, via slowly changing dimensions). Change data capture enables real-time updates that significantly reduce the size of data transfers - an increasingly important efficiency measure for data sets that have grown so large, there's no longer enough time to complete batch runs in the overnight hours.
What I really like about Talend is its code-generating approach - a practice that fell by the wayside in favour of higher-level, user-friendly tools built around a centralised, proprietary engine. Although the proprietary "black boxes" often help streamline development, they can also lead to processing bottlenecks and scalability issues.
By contrast, Talend jobs can be packaged up and deployed anywhere a Java Virtual Machine or Perl interpreter can reside. Jobs can also be embedded direct into your Java apps or even encapsulated as REST/SOAP web services via easy export.
Not that Talend is suitable to every enterprise project. It's light on the connectors to mainframes and minis that you'll find in commercial products such as ETI Solution V6, a comparable code-generating solution that can output native code in Java as well as Cobol, C/C++, and SAP.
Open source competitor Pentaho Data Integration (Kettle), despite taking a black-box approach, does offer good control over distributed processing, as well as integration into a more elaborate set of tools for BI and EAI. Nevertheless, I prefer Talend; it's better developed and more extensible than Kettle, and it offers superb data governance.
Deploying the pieces of Talend Open Studio - namely Job Designer, Business Modeler, and the repository manager - is straightforward. I installed to a Windows Server 2003 platform with Sun JVM and ActiveState Perl, and was quickly off and running.
The Business Modeler component - a nice touch for Talend - is a piece of the puzzle often omitted even at the commercial level. The Business Modeler provides a palette of components that allow non-technical analysts to build a view of the system and its workflows, without ever touching a drop of Java. The result gets turned over to developers, who flesh out the details using the Job Modeler, an Eclipse-based IDE and debugger.
The Job Modeler will put any Eclipse-seasoned developer at ease with its own palette of drag-and-drop components. It also provides access to the central repository, which holds all of your organisation's business models, job designs, metadata, documentation, and connection-specific information.
The latest version of Job Modeler adds collapsible subroutines for easier navigation. Other niceties include quick tabbing between graphical layout and code, a job scheduling interface (that puts a GUI on the Unix crontab command), and a thumbnail overview for easy navigation of large document layouts.
I liked the tMap component for defining my transforms and data routings. Although it was reminiscent of an old switchboard with wires strewn about, it was ultimately fast and effective. An Automap option saves time setting up initial connections.
The Job Modeler IDE's graphical SQL editor and test facility, called SQLBuilder, helps with SQL chores. Talend generates native SQL code for every supported database, no additional effort required. XSLT and XPath are in tow for XML processing. And a good set of orchestration components makes long-running and staged processing a possibility.
Onboard debugging offers step-by-step trace and variable inspection, with real-time stats and trace data viewable directly from the layout. Other niceties, like auto- generation of HTML documentation, sweeten the offering.
You need to be able to trust the accuracy of your data, not just push it around. Talend has data governance covered with good provisions for data quality and profiling. Data conformity and consistency, beyond de-duplication, is achieved using filters such as search-and-replace, interval- and fuzzy- matching, and schema-based transformation. The profiler adds metrics on data quality - tracked and assessed over time - and graphically depicts stats and performance summaries for quick isolation of data in need of scrubbing.
I was impressed by Talend's rich set of components for third-party products, too. Support ranges from the higher end of OLAP cubes and Microsoft AX Server, down to QuickBooks and Google Apps. Even open BI solutions, including Jaspersoft and SpagoBI, as well as CRM apps, including Salesforce.com, Sugar, and Centric CRM, are supported.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft shows the power of its Pen with a new Whiteboard app and other upgrades
- Windows 10 S will not run Linux, even though it's a downloadable Windows app
- The Windows 10 Game Bar: What PC gamers need to know
- Microsoft redesigns OneNote UI to make it more universally accessible
- Windows 10 Insider build 16199 fills some holes in the Creators Update
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Asus launches laptops to start Computex 2017
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- TPBI DeveloperNSW
- FTDigital Marketing Executive / Content ProducerNSW
- PTRecords and Information Management OfficerNSW
- FTAccounts and Office AdministratorNSW
- FTApplication System EngineerACT
- TPSolution Architect - Medical ImagingQLD
- FTGraduate Technical ConsultantACT
- FTBusiness Intelligence DeveloperSA
- FTSenior Ruby on Rails DeveloperNSW
- FTIT Command Centre Support EngineerVIC
- FTSenior Software Engineer - JavaQLD
- FTDesktop Support OfficerSA
- TPEnterprise Solutions ArchitectNSW
- FTApplication Support SpecialistQLD
- FTTechnical WriterVIC
- CCIT Systems Administrator-Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - ImprovementQLD
- TPTechnical AnalystVIC
- TPWeb DeveloperSA
- FTProject Manager or Coordinator - Retail Store ProjectsNSW
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- FTTest AnalystSA
- TPAndroid DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Magento DeveloperVIC