Informatica PowerCenter Reviews

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Score 8.4 out of 101

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Jody Gitchel profile photo
Score 7 out of 10
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Informatica PowerCenter is the enterprise ETL tool used for all data integration across the organization. PowerCenter is utilized for all on premises data integration including the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system as well as disparate systems including scheduling and time management systems.
  • Enforces enterprise wide ETL development standards.
  • Provides code re-usability with shared connections and objects.
  • Particularly adept at integrating a wide range of disparate data sources (handles flat files particularly well).
  • Well suited for moving large amounts of data.
  • There are too many ways to perform the same or similar functions which in turn makes it challenging to trace what a workflow is doing and at which point (ex. sessions can be designed as static or re-usable and the override can occur at the session or workflow, or both which can be counter productive and confusing when troubleshooting).
  • The power in structured design is a double edged sword. Simple tasks for a POC can become cumbersome. Ex. if you want to move some data to test a process, you first have to create your sources by importing them which means an ODBC connection or similar will need to be configured, you in turn have to develop your targets and all of the essential building blocks before being able to begin actual development. While I am on sources and targets, I think of a table definition as just that and find it counter intuitive to have to design a table as both a source and target and manage them as different objects. It would be more intuitive to have a table definition and its source/target properties defined by where you drag and drop it in the mapping.
  • There are no checkpoints or data viewer type functions without designing an entire mapping and workflow. If you would like to simply run a job up to a point and check the throughput, an entire mapping needs to be completed and you would workaround this by creating a flat file target.
PowerCenter is well equipped to handle large amounts of data movement in an organization with many disparate sources and a structured development team. It excels in enforcing enterprise development standards through things like metadata manager and the monitoring capabilities (as well as being able to design monitoring rules for everything from naming standards to design practices). It is especially well suited at handling flat-file data in addition to its many connectors and native support for just about any ANSI standard database. For large development teams or the desire to remain flexible at an enterprise scale, Powercenter is a top-tier solution.

For small projects or even smaller development teams with mostly a single data source, expect frustration with being able to quickly test a solution as the design flow is very structured. It is also designed in a way that segregation of duties at a very high level can also cause small development teams to be counter-productive. Each step in the design process is a separate application, and although stitched together, is not without its problems. In order to design a simple mapping for example, you would first need a connection established to the source (example, ODBC) and keep in mind that it will automatically name the container according to how you named your connection. You would then open the designer tool, import a connection as a source, optionally check it in, create a target, optionally check it in as well, and design a transformation mapping. In order to test or run it, you will need to open a separate application (Workflow Manager) and create a workflow from your mapping, then create a session for that workflow and a workflow for those one or more sessions at which point you can test it. After running it, in order to observe, you then need to open a separate application (Monitor) to see what it is doing and how well. For a developer coming from something like SSIS, this can be daunting and cumbersome for building a simple POC and trying to test it (although from the inverse, building an enterprise scalable ETL solution from SSIS is its own challenge).
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Score 9 out of 10
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We use PowerCenter throughout the organization, under a centralized IT implementation with a decentralized (or divisional) user base. It has been our mainstay and go-to ETL tool for many years. From SAP to Oracle to SQL, it lets us connect to just about anything in order to pipe data out into different repositories. Mainly it feeds our various data warehouse and data marts, but we also use it to extract data from our old CRM system into our Salesforce transition.
  • The number of connectors, and the coverage for all the possibilities, are excellent, giving us the comfort that we won’t have to build anything custom.
  • The flow visualizations are very nice, as we often have to go in and forensically review work done by others who are no longer with the company. This helps us accurately identify source data.
  • The alert system is a great feature I think is often underutilized. We’ve been able to set up a great communication tree of notifications when a job fails, saving our DBA’s a lot of time sending out emergency communications.
  • The pricing on the connectors is inflated, in my opinion. Plus, the fact you have to pay for them twice if you also utilize IICS (Informatica Cloud). I think you should only have to pay once, regardless of what platform from the vendor you are using. This is a big Con for me, as a manager that has to budget for these things.
  • It requires more in-depth training than some of the other ETL tools we use, including Informatica Cloud. With Cloud, you can guess and be right 99% of the time. With PowerCenter, you need a few weeks of training, and then still have to ask an expert.
  • Setting up secure agents is always difficult, but I’ve seen it done better with other tools like MULE. With Informatica, you tend to need 12 people in a room from all over the business to troubleshoot why the connection is not working.
I think anything where you need to shuttle data in/out of one complex system and into another is a great fit for PowerCenter (on prem). The “Upsert” function of updating and inserting has saved us countless dollars in storage space and the in/out transfer of data to the cloud, so if you are pulling data out of your on-prem systems and moving it to the cloud, this is the tool for you. Coupled with a good Data Warehouse or Data Lake strategy, you can be ELT instead of ETL, as well. Makes feeding your BI Tools fast and easy.
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Score 10 out of 10
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Informatica PowerCenter provides a robust Extract Transform and Load (ETL) engine that is both scalable and flexible. I have implemented informatica PowerCenter for a variety of government agencies to meet a variety of different requirements. Informatica is used to integrate data, build data marts or data warehouses to support decision support systems, disseminate data or even ingest data into COTs applications. It is all about being able to move or transform your data so it is usable by your business.
  • Informatica is a proven enterprise ETL tool that scales and provides a graphical interface to code your data mappings.
  • Reading, Transforming and Loading Data to and from databases.
  • Process incoming data such as messages in real-time.
  • Data Cleansing.
  • Web Services / Services.
  • Modeling your data models.
Informatica PowerCenter is great for creating data marts or data warehouses in star schema.

Informatica PowerCenter doesn't provide native capabilities for data cleansing, such as USPS zip code validation. You must code this manually.
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Sadu Kurahatti profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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Our firm provides consultancy to several federal government clients. Currently we are using Informatica Powercenter for aDHS - USCIS client to perform ETL on daily basis (both initial full load and incremental load) into various data marts. It helps in moving data from one source to another, mainly to a data warehouse to help generate reports.
  • Data migration from multiple sources. It handles any type of source data including RDBMS, flat files, XML, mainframe etc.
  • Implementing data migration rules is very easy and efficient and reusable.
  • Development and maintenance of code is very easy. Design, development and scheduling of full load and incremental load is very easy.
  • Provides lot of features for developers to implement any kind of business rules.
  • Not worth doing simple data migration using powercenter.
  • Licensing cost.
  • Handling Blobs and clobs data types.
PowerCenter is ideal where there is a need to implement complex data migration rules and perform incremental data load. It is very efficient, easy to maintain and modify the code. It is also very efficient in connecting to data sources including XML, Flat files, spreadsheets, RDBMS, mainframe etc.
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Brian Randolph profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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PowerCenter is used in multiple applications across our company. PowerCenter mappings load the data warehouse and various data marts for our marketing and executive teams. The Informatica Cloud platform, based on the PowerCenter engine, replicates data from our Salesforce deployment for downstream consumers. PowerCenter, along with the Informatica Data Quality offering, is utilized to cleanse and land source information for our Master Data Management platform. We utilize PowerCenter and the PowerExchange connector for Salesforce to publish the best version of the truth to the source systems. The tools address the issue of timely and efficient data loads, and to be able to apply data standards and business rules across multiple disparate platforms.
  • PowerCenter connects to multiple sources and targets with ease, and at the same time.
  • PowerCenter allows the application of complicated business rule logic with ease through a user friendly interface.
  • PowerCenter logic can be captured and shared in mapplets, enabling reusability.
  • Documentation of how the different offerings in the Informatica product line work together as a total data platform, and licensing across those offerings. This information is difficult to come by and more often than not requires Informatica Professional Services assistance.
  • Copy and paste of elements to provide additional documentation and coding capabilities.
  • Interface with industry standards such as Microsoft Excel.
PowerCenter is by far the industry leader when it comes to extract, transform and load applications. The ability to access a multitude of data sources and targets makes the product versatile. And the graphic user interface makes it easy to learn and use the tool with limited knowledge. Even business users can understand the mappings and logic applied.
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Score 6 out of 10
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PowerCenter is being used to automate our ETL processes. We have implemented data pipelines to ingest and transform data from our clients. PowerCenter work flows also load data into a DBMS platform and create SAS data libraries.
  • PowerCenter processes input files, performs specified transformations, and maps the input data format to the output data format very quickly. The PowerCenter backend implementation seems to be optimized to process and map structured input records to structured output records and load the records into a database. One of the strengths of PowerCenter is performance of processing petabytes of structured input data files.
  • PowerCenter does not require a software development experience or education. After providing initial hands-on training, the data consultants (who are statisticians, subject matter experts) in our organization were able to implement data ingest and data transformation tasks fairly easily.
  • PowerCenter supports multiple DBMS technologies (for example, Oracle, Netezza). This flexibility allows it to be used by multiple departments within our organization.
  • One of the challenges of PowerCenter is the lack of integration between the components and functionality provided by PowerCenter. PowerCenter consists of multiple components such has the repository service, integration service, metadata service. Considerable time and resources were required to install and configure these components before PowerCenter was available for use.
  • In order to connect to various data sources such as Netezza database or SAS datasets, PowerCenter requires the installation and configuration of separate plug-ins. We spent considerable time trouble-shooting and debugging problems while trying to get the various plug-ins integrated with PowerCenter and get them up and running as described in the documentation.
  • PowerCenter works well with structured data. That is, it is easy to work with input and output data that is pre-defined, fixed, and unchanging. It is much more difficult to work with dynamic data in which new fields are added or removed ad-hoc or if data format changes during the data ingest process. We have not been as successful in using PowerCenter for dynamic data.
  • One of the challenges of learning PowerCenter is that it is difficult to find documentation or publications that help you learn the various details about PowerCenter software. Unlike SAS Institute, Informatica does not publish books about PowerCenter. The documentation available with PowerCenter is sparse; we have learned many aspects of this technology through trial and error.

PowerCenter is well suited for processing of large amounts of data that is structured and pre-defined. It is well-suited for large organizations that have the resources to install, configure and support PowerCenter. It is well suited for large organizations that have a large number of data consultants/analysts that do not have a software development/programming background.

PowerCenter is not a good fit for smaller, agile organizations that work with unstructured data and changing/dynamic data.

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April 06, 2017

Good ETL Platform

Score 8 out of 10
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Our company bought Informatica PowerCenter around 5 years ago, when we initially set up the BI team in the IT department. After that it became one of the core platforms in IT for data-level workflow and reporting purposea.
  • It is quite flexible to handle different type of data formats like DB objects or Tables
  • Good performance when processing lots of data in batch
  • Easy to learn and use
  • The client is quite heavy in terms of size and function
  • Better way to upgrade
  • Test and deployment automation needs to be improved
DB level or flat file for reporting or analysis
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Score 9 out of 10
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Powercenter is used heavily by the IT processing departments at my organization in support of the end users in various business departments. In short, it is the backend process for a majority of the company, but only a small percentage of employees use the tool itself in a day to day basis.
  • The tool is excellent at pulling data from source systems, modifying it to fit a target system, and then pushing the data accordingly.
  • It handles conversion of datatypes very well
  • PowerCenter is very adapt at applying data filters and 'business rules' to source data before pushing the results to the end user.
  • As a developer/integrator, i feel that PowerCenter could use improvement, and that is in the area of automated deployments. There isn't really any scripting options to automate back end deployments of ETL Workflows from one environment to the next. Instead, everything has to be done via the GUI (Graphical User Interface). And while this is a relatively straight forward process, it can be time consuming.
  • There is no real interface between PowerCenter and programs that manage the encapsulation of password for System Accounts. All connections to source and target systems have to be updated via the Power Center Workflow Manager GUI, and entered manually. There is no interface with encryption programs such as MAC VAULT, and as such, admins are required to have access to passwords that information security departments might otherwise not want them to have.
PowerCenter is the top of the line tool for migrating data from one source to another. It excels at filtering and modifying data before deploying it into a target environment, usually for end user use.

However, if you are looking for a tool to simply look at data from one source, there are other products out there. This is really designed for aggregating data and filtering/manipulating it into useful information.
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Score 8 out of 10
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PowerCenter is being used across the organization for all our ETL needs, be it generating flat files from different sources or loading data from legacy systems into data warehouse or integrating multiple systems for reporting needs.
  • Ability to work with different types of sources and targets.
  • Version control of the code.
  • Ability to integrate with LDAP for security.
  • Ease of use.
  • Performance with ODBC drivers can be improved.
  • Memory utilization is very high during ETL execution.
  • Improved scheduling capabilities for in built scheduler.
In scenarios where we have to integrate data from heterogeneous sources into targets PowerCenter is the best tool as it can extract as well as load data by using native drivers of each of the different databases with a performance that is not matched by any of its competitors. By bringing power exchange, data quality, metadata management and data discovery under one instance, Informatica has simplified PowerCenter integration with above mentioned tools as well as maintenance of the instance.
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Feature Scorecard Summary

Connect to traditional data sources (9)
Connecto to Big Data and NoSQL (7)
Simple transformations (9)
Complex transformations (9)
Data model creation (9)
Metadata management (7)
Business rules and workflow (9)
Collaboration (8)
Testing and debugging (9)
Integration with data quality tools (7)
Integration with MDM tools (5)

About Informatica PowerCenter

PowerCenter from Informatica is a data integration platform.
Categories:  Data Integration

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