insights by infactory in-factory GmbH Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services - Questions & Answers

Informatica offers Intelligent Cloud Services (IICS), an Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) solution for integrating and delivering data and application services – on-premises and in the cloud. In the Intelligent Cloud Services article, the platform was introduced and in this article, four of our experts have taken a closer look at the move to the cloud and provide answers to current questions:

1. Where does the Integration Service run – in the cloud or locally? What is a hybrid solution?

The actual user data (database contents, flat files) is not sent to the Informatica Cloud. All user data is received and processed via the Secure Agent, which is installed locally in most cases.
Only an exchange of metadata (comparable to a PowerCenter repository) takes place. The exchange of metadata is encrypted. The Secure Agent is responsible for processing the actual user data, i.e. all processes (Data Integration Service, Process Engine, etc.) are executed on the Secure Agent host. For this reason, the Secure Agent must be equipped with the appropriate hardware. Here you can draw a comparison with a PowerCenter Server.
Since the Secure Agent is usually installed locally, certain data such as FlatFiles are still stored locally. This is also referred to as a hybrid solution, since data is still stored locally, but the logic is always stored in the cloud.

2. Is it possible to query the metadata (Informatica Views)?

Compared to a PowerCenter or domain repository, the repository metadata cannot be accessed directly, i.e. querying metadata is only possible to a limited extent via the IICS Rest API.
It should also be mentioned here that there is no backup functionality, an export of the assets (mapping, tasks, etc.) must be performed.

3. How does it affect performance if the repository is in the cloud and the data, or the secure agent, is local?

Informatica Cloud Services can be hosted on different servers, that means the network latency between Secure Agent and IICS Host plays a major role here. The distance between Secure Agent and IICS Host should be as short as possible for this reason.
In addition, the network latency between Secure Agent and the source also plays a role in performance considerations.

4. Is there a Push Down Optimization option?

As in PowerCenter, PushDownOptimization (PDO) can be used for certain types of mappings.

5. Are all PowerCenter transformations supported? Are the Reusable transformations supported?

It is important to note that there are still transformations within PowerCenter that cannot be used in IICS.
An overall list cannot be found in the Informatica network, but Reusable transformations, for example, cannot be used¹. Besides the option of an export and import through the “PC to Cloud conversion” tool, there is also the possibility to use a PowerCenter Task in IICS.
However, this has the disadvantage that the customer needs a license for both IICS and PowerCenter, since no changes can be made to a PowerCenter Task within IICS.

6. Is the partitioning of workflows supported?

Yes, similar to PowerCenter

7. Are the parameter files used?

Parameter files can be used in the same way as in PowerCenter. Similar to PowerCenter, a distinction is made as well between global and local parameters.

Intelligent Cloud Services

Informatica Cloud Architecture Overview

8. Is there PMCMD?

IICS does not use command line tools like pmcmd and so on. Only the application RunAJobCli is available here, which can be used to execute jobs.
In addition, queries can be retrieved via the REST API.

9. Is the migration of mappings/workflows from PowerCenter to Intelligent Cloud Services automated?

Currently, there is no automated process to migrate existing PowerCenter workflows 1 to 1 to IICS.
At this time, PowerCenter workflows must be exported and imported into IICS.

10. Which scheduling tool can be used with Intelligent Cloud Services? Is there the possibility of integration with Control-M?

IICS offers rudimentary functionalities regarding the scheduling of jobs.
External applications can use the RunaJobCli tool or the Rest API.
A Control-M plugin is currently not available.

11. Which and how many ports need to be opened for communication with the cloud?

Which ports and how many ports have to be enabled depends on both the server and the used services.
In addition to the ports for the cloud, the ports for the corresponding applications, e.g. database ports, must of course also be enabled.
The Secure Agent must have a direct connection to the Internet, since it always communicates with the cloud.

12. Is the data transmitted encrypted?

Data between Secure Agent and the cloud is encrypted (TLS 1.2), as is the connection to external cloud application services via HTTPS.
Passwords to relational applications such as databases are also encrypted.
In the case of a locally hosted Secure Agent, the connections can be additionally configured with higher security measures, for example.

13. What happens in case of network interruptions or failures? Are there parameters that “bridge” interruptions?

The Secure Agent is in constant contact with the cloud and behaves identically to the PowerCenter Client here.
There are parameters at both the Secure Agent and service level that can be increased to bridge short-term network interruptions.

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Author: Bojan Stankovic, Sven Benzing, Erich Schlotterer, Daniel Weber

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