Monday, January 21, 2008

Enterprise Information Integration - A First Look

Nowadays, A trend I noticed in IT Professionals, if any technology start with E** will be on demand, and it’s not absolutely wrong because we have seen in last one decade, “E” runs Enterprises. We have live examples of EAI (Enterprise Application Integration), EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), ETL (Extract Transform Load), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), and I can bet about EII (Enterprise Information Integration) that would be not an exception among the group of “E”-Technologies. In this competitive edge, every enterprise wants to best data infrastructure with cost efficiency, and that’s bet “innovations never going to end for this requirement”. In this globalization most of companies are operating form different countries with many cultures, people, languages, and these all brings different applications, different vendors, different standards, different platforms, different technology and systems’ cultures. Now, these things don’t making life easy for CIOs, and they makes our life tuff [:-)] like universal food chain (a big fish eat a small one). Generally to handle such scenarios we are implementing EAI, ETL solutions for a low latency/live data integration and historical data integration respectively but still one unnoticed scenarios need some dedicated effort from the technology community these days which is Information Integration, generally we are fulfilling the purpose of Information Integration by data integration and EAI mostly but such implementations will be not cost competitive compare to dedicated EII implementation because EII is gaining traction for enabling data integration without the need for the physical instantiation of the integration. In other words, EII adds integrated reporting capabilities while minimizing impact on existing systems. But before deciding the integration pattern we must have clear idea what we should integrate with EII patterns and what shouldn’t.

Let’s have look to some situations where EII can be ideal and cost/effort effective solution for any enterprise.

  1. Connecting structured data with unstructured data, this can take advantage of EII’s capability of leaving data in place that could not dramatically increase overall storage requirements. (this you can also count as disadvantage of EAI/ETL solutions in such Information Integration scenarios)
  2. When immediate data change required in response to the data view. (This requirement will be not easy and cost competitive for EAI/ETL).
  3. Some operational and regulatory reporting where the data needed is not completely integrated in one place.
  4. When data transformation is relatively light or nonexistent and just getting the data together for integrated query is the biggest challenge.

At bottom line I can state EII is for implementing such scenarios like integrated queries, connecting data without increasing storage requirements and low latency responses.

So, what could be definition of “EII”, I have referred one definition constructed by “Integration Consortium” and I would like to share with you all, EII is the integration of data from multiple systems into a unified, consistent and accurate representation geared toward the viewing and manipulation of the data. Data is aggregated, restructured and relabeled (if necessary) and presented to the user.

Integration Type




Data Integration (ETL)


Trend Analysis


Application Integration

Live Data


IT Organization

Information Integration



End Users

Now after understanding of the EII, the oblivious question would come in mind about implementation and the instrument (tool). Many of technology vendors have already initiated and introduce some of tools focusing or additional functionalities in existing tools which support such EII implementations. The instruments like SOA, Web Services, EAI / ETL tools could be the best picks for implementing such requirements. I believe the following requirements are the key of any EII implementation.

  • Service Oriented Architecture
  • Mata Data Management
  • Semantic Information Model
  • Dynamic Aggregation

The above key topics I believe will be known to any Integration Architect, so any such program or tool can handle or facilitate the above keys to implement in aggregated manner could be used to impermanent EII solutions.

For BizTalk Server, I see very bright scope for such kind of implementation with other coupled Microsoft Technologies like Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation, MS SSO, Host Integration Server, SQL Server Analysis Services, and SQL Server Integration Services. Additionally the innovative steps like ESB by Microsoft Patterns and Practices are giving very high level of confidence to such implementation through Microsoft Platform.

If I talk about my experience with EII system then yes, with the grace of God I got such precious opportunity to put the first EII implementation in GO-LIVE state at my organization.

I will try to come up with more articles on such immerging Enterprise Information Integration with BizTalk and Microsoft Technology specific articles. Believe me there is lots of things to share with you about my exciting experience for Enterprise Information Integration.

Thanks for BEAR me during the article. Your valuable feedback and suggestion are welcome to


Nilay Parikh said...

The EII challenge

Is enterprise-information integration (EII) the new paradigm? By Gary Eastwood

Good Article

Marshal Nagpal said...

Indeed a good piece of information.. and thanks for sharing....:)

Nilay Parikh said...

some more brain storming on BizTalk's capability on EII.

I have started Q&A thread on Linkedin with a question and I have found some interesting answers. Please have a look...

Nilay Parikh said...

Excellent articles at Click Here

Abhilash said...

The E-Factor is so true

FTXT said...
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