IBM InfoSphere DataStage Review

A powerful solution for complex transactions with an extremely straightforward setup

What is most valuable?

DataStage itself is a very powerful tool and you have a lot of transformations that you can do. In comparison to Informatica, you can run very complex transactions on it. It's a precise and powerful environment. And when you have ETLs and you all your data documented on the data manager and you have the rest of management from IBM itself on InfoSphere, it's very powerful, especially when you use the whole suite. It helps with end-user technologies and gives you better imaging. 

It's powerful in administration mode. It works well when you're using solutions like DataConnect, IBM CDC, etc.

DataStage works better with Linux operating systems when the application services are hosted on a Linux system equipment, but it's powerful on Windows too.

Also, no matter what language you use, you can always transform the data.

I'm not sure about the latest versions, however, as I'm on 11.3, which is about five years old.

What needs improvement?

I really like this tool, but the administration should be on the same client application because a lot of administration features are not on the client-side, and they usually need to have administrative access. It's quite complicated to force IT, teams, to have separate administrative access from the developers. 

The platform also needs more stability. It caches a lot. It crashes on the application servers that the host allows on the platform.

The solution needs better online tools for data, or for sourcing data on the internet. They have InfoSphere exchange but it's not as useful for DataStage. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is related to the operating system your company uses. It crashes occasionally when you're hosting the application servers, but only in the servers on the operating system. With Linux, because Linux itself is very robust, it crashes less. For example, we have a telecom with 40 million users and using Linux it crashed maybe two times a year. However, when the solution was hosted on the Windows platform, it crashed two to three times a month. 

The crashes are related to memory and if it's not automated, you have to deal with it manually. On Windows, you have to release the cache memories manually, but on Linux, you don't have to do that, which is why you get less crashing. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable, but at a certain point, it consumes a lot of resources. In order to scale, you need a lot of memory and a lot of people.

How are customer service and technical support?

The quality of technical support you can expect usually depends on the region. In Egypt, it was not great, but in Jordan, Dubai, and Kuwait, it was good. That was a couple of years ago. I'm not using the solution right now, so I can't say for sure if this is still the case.

How was the initial setup?

The solution has one of the most straightforward setups. It's even easier than Office.

What other advice do I have?

The last version I interacted with was 11.3 because the later versions were cloud-based and usually our customers didn't want to use the solution on the cloud.

In terms of advice, I would give to anyone trying to implement the solution is this: you to have accurate sizing. Clients always do the sizing wrong and they need more experience to get the sizing right. Setting up the environments takes sizing into account but it usually makes a lot of problems if the sizing is poor when it starts to operate. Then you have re-implement and it will require an increase in resources that will change your budget. 

I would rate this solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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