In Q4 2018, we released Centerprise 7.5, featuring several new useful transformations and significant improvements in server resiliency. Over the past year, we have been working on a significant redesign of Centerprise product line to bring several client- and server-side enhancements. These enhancements will be released over the year to help global enterprises that have been using Centerprise over a decade bring agility, scalability, and ease to their data management processes.
Here is a quick roundup of some of the upcoming releases we have planned for the months ahead. For more details about each of the following releases, stay tuned to our blog.
Features Coming Up in Centerprise 8.0
Support for .NET Core & Linux
The biggest enhancement and one of the major asks we have had from customers over the past few years is a data management solution that works cross-platform. We are addressing the need in the new Centerprise 8.0 that uses a .NET Core-based architecture to offer cross-platform support, improved performance, and scalability benefits to customers.
With this new .NET Core-based Centerprise, we are broadening our reach to customers who are using Ubuntu and CentOS based Linux operating system, in addition to Windows OS that we already support. This also expands the server choices available to developers, allowing them to work with cloud databases. Just like its Window-compatible version, the new cross-platform Centerprise offers connectivity to databases via ADO.NET, flat files, hierarchical formats (COBOL, EDI, PDF, XML), ODBC data sources, unstructured data formats, REST web services, and more.
The new architecture offers end-to-end support for complex data integration scenarios, enabling enterprises to perform batch ETL/ELT jobs, continuous data integration, or API integration with minimal developer resources, without compromising on the scalability and performance that they have come to expect from the Windows-only Centerprise over the years.
Additionally, the move from .NET Framework to .NET Core will also support our plans of moving to a microservices-enabled architecture and offer API integration. With greater scalability, the .NET Core architecture of Centerprise is capable of running hundreds of microservices with a lower number of servers, thereby saving costs in infrastructure.
Support for Installing Centerprise in Docker Containers
Given the versatility of Centerprise and its role as a data integration platform, it makes sense that our customers would want the flexibility to run it wherever their data may lie. By providing support for Docker container deployment, we aim to offer just that.
With this release, we are unveiling a lightweight, stand-alone, executable package of Centerprise to design, deploy, and manage dataflows across a cluster of containers in a Docker container deployment. This containerized Centerprise is portable among systems running on the Linux OS to offer greater ease of deployment. The use of Docker containers also allows for load balancing based on the spikes in demand.
Lean Client Release for a More Streamlined Deployment of Centerprise
We are also releasing a lightweight version of Centerprise that offers a quicker, more streamlined deployment process. The current client-server architecture of Centerprise requires a user to install database drivers and other add-ons on individual client machines. This involves IT overhead and can produce maintenance challenges for businesses. We are addressing this with a lean client architecture that eliminates the need to install database drivers and add-ons on individual client machines, thereby expediting the deployment process.
Introducing Centerprise Web Service
In the new Centerprise 8.0, we have also transitioned from .NET Remoting to RESTful web services. This provides simple REST APIs to manage Centerprise jobs, schedules, and other objects.
Combined with containerization, Centerprise Web Service offers a truly platform-agnostic deployment, allowing businesses to deploy their data integration solution wherever they want: on Windows or Linux, in the public cloud, or a private, fully-managed cloud service. However you deploy, Centerprise Web Service will fit into the existing data management processes, with minimal IT overhead and onboarding required.
The new architecture is horizontally scalable, which makes it easier to add new nodes to a cluster to scale up as integration workloads increase, allowing businesses to accommodate new data sources and data manipulation requirements quickly.
Security and Access Control
As businesses move more and more of their data integration workloads to cloud, one of the most requested features has been the ability to control who can access the data assets and secure the exchange of data. With the release of our REST server architecture, we are also shipping additional security and access control features to make the data ecosystems of customers more agile and secure, including:
- User role management
- Role-based resource access
- Bearer-token authentication
Cloud Deployment of Centerprise Data Integrator
The new release of Centerprise includes several major enhancements to facilitate cloud deployment of the solution and deliver a truly hybrid, end-to-end data management platform for building a high-value data pipeline.
The biggest game-changing feature that is a part of Centerprise 8.0 release is its cross-platform support for both Linux and Windows OS and the ability to deploy Centerprise repositories on databases beyond SQL Server. In addition, the provision to deploy Centerprise in Docker containers and the scalable server architecture that can be scaled up or out for mission-critical enterprise data integration will also allow users to capitalize on the massive throughput advantage of the multi-node cloud deployment and containerization.
Advanced role-based security and access control features are available in Centerprise 8.0 to simplify user management and create a more secure environment. Super Users or admins will be able to enable, disable, or delete users, assign privileges to user roles, and assign a user role to many users at once. Any possible combination of privileges can be assigned to a user role, which allows admins to create different profiles, such as viewer, administrator, developer, operator, service consumer, etc.
Seamless connectivity to cloud-based file systems, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Redshift, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and HDFS is also slated for the first half of the 2019. This will offer enterprises an end-to-end solution to manage on-premise and cloud data integration, data quality, data warehousing, and data access.
Planned to be Released in Q3 2019
This year, we are also planning to release localized versions of Centerprise in Spanish, French, and German. The localized versions will be released incrementally and make data management easier and more approachable for an international audience. The new localized version of Centerprise will automatically detect the language of the OS and open a localized interface in the selected language.
Improvements to Server Monitoring and Job Management
We have great new improvements to server management and monitoring lined up this year. These server monitoring enhancements will allow the user easy access to key performance metrics related to server usage, available processing power, job queue, and more.
Here are the key enhancements that we will be releasing this summer:
- A unified server management interface that provides a single view of all the servers connected to a repository and shows server load, the health of individual server components, and the server event log
- Job management functionality will allow the user to schedule jobs according to priority, move jobs between servers and more
- A job monitoring window that will show the status and progress of every job running on the server
One of the biggest asks we have had over the years from the customers is to make the process of integrating new data sources, extending existing views, and enabling new data visualizations easier and more agile.
This summer, we are going to ship a new functionality, data virtualization, that will help address this need.
The product is being built on top of Centerprise Data Integrator, from which it will inherit its scalability and robustness, and will offer features to make data spread across physically distinct systems appear as a virtual database, while abstracting away the complexities of accessing and merging the underlying data sources. This unified, logically virtualized view of data will be available for consumption by front-end business solutions, such as Tableau and PowerBI, or for further data massaging and manipulation by the user.
Some key features of the product include:
- Caching – Materialize data into a designated storage location with manual, scheduled, or incremental cache refresh
- Entity Relationships – Create one-to-one and one-to-many relationships between entities completely code-free
- Data Modeling – Design virtual views using a highly intuitive, drag-and-drop development environment. Use bottom-up modeling to design a virtual data model by combining data from disparate systems without worrying about data access or format.
- Virtual Data Model – Expose the virtualized view as a virtual database to consuming users and applications. Use the Multi-Table Query source to access and perform transformations on the virtual database. Astera Query Language (AQL), an object relational query language, can also be used to call subsets of data into a dataflow.
Features in the Innovation Pipeline
Publishing Data Using RESTful APIs
The last few years have seen the rise of web APIs, driven with an exponential increase in the number of applications used by businesses. We are excited to announce that we will be releasing an API integration solution this year that will allow users to expose any data source or a subset of it as a secure, managed, real-time RESTful API that can be called and consumed by any authorized user within or beyond the enterprise. This will eliminate siloed systems, processes, and people, and enable collaboration across teams, departments, division and throughout the value chain of the enterprise.
The product will feature a self-service developer portal for API creation, testing, documentation, and management. With token bearer authentication, users will be able to securely publish their APIs to external and internal users. With detailed analytics, developers can get reports on API usage, health, latency, cache efficiency, etc., and use this insight to identify their most popular APIs for monetization.
Consuming RESTful APIs
APIs offer a great way to build a well-connected data ecosystem; however, consuming public APIs and using them as a data source involves significant development overhead. We are working on an API integration solution that will offer a completely code-free operation to consume RESTful APIs and use them to retrieve and manipulate information from any internal or external source system.
The API integration solution will offer the same level of usability and scalability that our data solutions are acclaimed for in the industry. Using a RESTful API as a data source will be as easy and straightforward as bringing a Database Table Source onto the dataflow designer in a simple drag-and-drop manner. What’s more, users can leverage the high scalability of our data management platform to weave different public APIs, such as OpenAPI and OData APIs, and private APIs together to build sophisticated integration solutions for the most complex data consolidation and transformation needs, all completely code-free.
The above improvements, altogether, are a key step towards our mission of creating an enterprise-ready end-to-end data management solution that offers deployment flexibility, unparalleled performance, ease of use, and operational efficiency.
Several other improvements to pushdown optimization (ELT mode of Centerprise), user interface, and the number of endpoints we support are also underway. Stay tuned for more details about each of the above improvements in the weeks ahead.