IBM InfoSphere Optim Review

The in-line masking feature for Oracle & Teradata works like normal DB functions.


What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this product is the in-line masking feature for Oracle & Teradata, which works just like normal DB functions, thus giving us a lot of flexibility to mask the data & designing the overall masking process & routines.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest improvement we achieved via the Optim in-line masking process is to enable an automated data masking process, by which we have minimized the manual intervention to mask PII information after every data refresh in lower environments. In addition, using the in-line masking process helped to reduce the time required for masking a huge amount of PII information & ensured similar masked data all over the organization.

What needs improvement?

  • The masking process in SQL Server using Optim still requires using the Extract-Convert-Load process via a GUI tool, which again consumes lot of manual hours to set up & scramble PII information in the DB. The ECL process is also more time consuming than in-line masking.
  • Also, Optim does not have a direct XML masking feature [we can still mask the data with a combination of native DB XML manipulation language using SQL and the OPTIM inline feature], which they could improve.
  • Optim also cannot mask/redact BLOB, images & PDF data.

For how long have I used the solution?

The client has been using this product for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Optim 11.3 for distributed systems is a pretty stable product [both the Extract-Convert-Load process via GUI and the inline masking feature]. But we did face some issues in our z/OS system last year, which was fixed by IBM pretty quickly by introducing some new patches in their latest version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

While masking PII information in huge tables [more than 500 million record count with more than five PII columns present] the Extract-Convert-Load [ECL] process becomes extremely slow and can take a huge amount of time.

How are customer service and technical support?

On a scale of 1 to 10 [1=worst to 10=best], I would rate technical support a 9.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The client used to use a different tool for masking, which currently is moving out of the company after they had started using Optim. The switch happened because the older tool took more time to mask PII information, and is not ideal for creating an automated masking process.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup process is quite straightforward. We have not faced any hassles during setup till now.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As the product pricing & licencing is maintained by the client's software team, I do not have enough information to comment on this subject.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I do not have much information about this subject.

What other advice do I have?

Optim is an excellent tool for masking PII information in both distributed & z/OS systems. IBM is also trying to include data security & masking for big data environments. If someone is looking for masking the data on the fly after DB refresh happens on lower environments, Optim inline masking would be a very easy, scalable solution which can be easily automated.

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