Oracle Data Integrator (ODI) Review

It allows us to use many languages to develop and to integrate practically all the technologies of the Oracle suite as well as those from non-Oracle vendors.

What is most valuable?

It allows us to use many languages to develop and to integrate practically all the technologies of the Oracle suite as well as those from non-Oracle vendors.

How has it helped my organization?

My organization develops solutions using all the Oracle EPM products, and ODI has helped us to integrate all the different technologies.

What needs improvement?

I think that the product as an overall solution is good. I would only point out some minor bugs or glitches in the development interface (ODI studio), but I do not think that any of them are worthy to be reported here.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There are some difficulties in moving a repository from an environment to a different one due to the internal numbering through which ODI references the objects belonging to a repository. This often causes troubles in the porting, and for this reason you always must pay attention during this operation.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I encountered many problems with the ODI web agent (service that actually executes all the integration tasks) in the 11g version, which was not stable. For this reason, I always suggest using the standalone agent instead of the web one, mostly due to the fact that they do not have significant differences.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling issues depend mostly on the tools that ODI uses to integrate the technologies. For example, if the number of records inside a table, which is the source of an integration task, increase greatly, the performance of the ODI integrating flows may degrade a lot. Their tuning, by the way, depends on the database (i.e. table partitioning, indexes or hints).

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I only experienced once the customer service provided by Oracle on ODI and was supported by capable and helpful people.

Technical Support:

The level of technical support is quite good. Apart from the first approach used to identify if the problem you are pointing out is a real issue or not, the second level support is really efficient and comprised of competent and clever people.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not really easy. To use ODI you must:

  • Install the ODI studio (client)
  • Create and configure a master and a work repository to develop on them, being sure that they can reach the database schemas you’ll work on (relational structures involved in the integration)
  • Install and configure an agent (if you need to communicate with more than a server and to schedule integration tasks), choosing properly where you need it and opening all the communication doors to allow it to reach all the parts of your architecture

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it with an in-house team, since my company is a consultancy and also an Oracle partner.

Even if ODI allows implementing a very smart solution with an high level of customization, I think that keeping the model of what you are developing as simple as possible is always the best choice. This is due to its future maintenance. Keep in mind that, even if you may be a very keen developer and you can propose the best and most parametric solution ever, if another (less expert) person inherits the responsibility of what you have developed, they may encounter difficulties in solving problems. For this reason, the easier you keep the complexity or technicalities of what you have created, the better it is.

This is also valid for performance - one of the basic rules of the informatics development is “divide et impera”, which means that you should always try to create “objects” as small as you can to improve performance and to be able to identify quickly where a problem is.

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

Being an ODI developer, I never had to pay for this product. I know that the pricing/licensing is not really low, but the product is really good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I tried many integration tools, both Oracle and other vendors. I think that ODI is one of the most complete and open solutions, since it can work with almost any technology and it gives you the ability to develop the same solution in a wide variety of ways depending on the one you prefer.

What other advice do I have?

Always keep in mind that ODI offers a huge number of solutions to any task you are developing. There is not a best practice in solving a problem; being able to identify the best solution for your particular problem is up to you and it may also be difficult to identify. This does not mean that the solution you have in mind is not correct.
Always try to maintain an ordered environment, keeping only what you really need, and perhaps organizing the items in different projects or folders, or even different work repositories.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

11g and 12c
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is an Oracle partner, and we develop with all Oracle business intelligence products.
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