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What is Informatica: A Beginner Tutorial of Informatica PowerCenter

Last updated on Jun 01,2023 149.8K Views

1 / 2 Blog from Introduction to Informatica

Informatica, over the years, has been the leader in data integration technology, but it does make us curious as to why is there so much buzz around Informatica and most importantly what is Informatica! I will try to answers all these questions as a part of this blog.

What is Informatica and why it is used?

Informatica has several products focused on data integration. However, Informatica PowerCenter is the flagship product in the portfolio. It has become so popular that Informatica PowerCenter has now become synonymous to Informatica. So whenever I use Informatica in the blog now, it essentially means Informatica PowerCenter. Informatica is a data integration tool based on ETL architecture. It provides data integration software and services for various businesses, industries and government organizations including telecommunication, health care, financial and insurance services. Let’s take a look at some key metrics to understand why it is the leader in the data integration technology. 

Informatica Key Metrics:

Following are a few stats that reflect the growth in the demand for Informatica Certification quite accurately:

    • 2015 Revenue : $1.06 billion, more than the combined revenue of Abinitio, datastage, SSIS, and other ETL tools
    • 7-year Annual CAGR: 30%
    • Partners : 450+
    • Major SI, ISV, OEM and On-Demand Leaders
    • Customers: Over 5,000
    • Customers in 82 countries & direct Presence in 28 countries
    • # 1 in customer loyalty rankings, 7 years in a row

    The above indicator clearly establishes the fact that there is a great demand for Informatica across the globe. But it is equally important to understand what kind of problem does Informatica solve and are those problems critical to a business enterprise. To understand what is Informatica and its importance, we must first understand the following 3 things:

    • What is the context in which Data Integration is used?
    • What is ETL?
    • Why Informatica and what are its real-life application?

    What is the context in which Data Integration is used?

    Every company nowadays processes a huge set of data. They come from varied sources and needs to be processed to give insightful information for making business decisions. But quite often such data has following challenges:

    • Large companies with lots of data: Such huge chunk of data can be in any format. They would be available in multiple databases and many unstructured files.
    • This data must be collated, combined, compared, and made to work as a seamless whole. But the different databases don’t communicate well!
    • Many organizations have implemented interfaces between these databases:
      • Every pair of databases requires a unique interface
      • If you change one database, many interfaces may have to be upgraded
                                      Different Databases
                                       Different Interface

    Data Integration is the solution for all such problems. Data Integration technologies allow data from different databases and formats to communicate with each other.


    Data Integration-what-is-informatica


    But there are different architecture in data integration technology. Informatica uses the Extract, Transform & Load (ETL) architecture which is the most popular architecture to perform data integration. So it is imperative that we understand What is ETL and how Informatica performs ETL to solve such business problems.

    What is ETL?

    ETL is a type of data integration and involves an architecture that extracts, transforms, and then loads data in the target database or file.  It is the foundation of data warehouse.

    An ETL system does the following:

    • Extracts data from source systems
    • Transforms and cleans up the data
    • Indexes data
    • Summarizes data
    • Loads data into the warehouse
    • Tracks changes made to the source data required for the warehouse
    • Restructures keys
    • Maintains the metadata
    • Refreshes the warehouse with updated data









    If we have understood what is ETL and the ETL process, we are now in a better position to appreciate why Informatica is the best solution in such cases. We will also understand what are the typical real life scenario wherein Informatica can come very handy. 

    What is the use of Informatica ETL tool?:

    Informatica PowerCenter is a premium data integration solution available today. The reason it provides the best solution in large enterprises is because it is: 

    • database neutral and hence can communicate with any database
    • the most powerful data transformations tool. It converts one application’s data to another’s format


    Moving on in this article on what is Informatica, let us understand how does Informatica perform ETL.

    How Informatica performs ETL:

     ETL: Extract

    • PowerCenter reads data, row by row, from a table (or group of related tables) in a database, or from a file
    • This database or file is referred to as the source
    • The structure of the source is contained in a source definition object.


    ETL: Transform

    • Informatica PowerCenter converts the rows into a format the second (target) system will be able to use
    • The logic for this conversion is defined in transformation objects


    ETL: Load

    • Informatica PowerCenter writes data, row by row, to a table (or group of related tables) in a database, or to a file
    • This database or file is referred to as the target
    • The structure of the target is contained in a target definition object


    Next in this article on what is Informatica, let us see the real-time applications of it.

    Real-time applications of Informatica:

    The typical scenarios in which Informatica is used:

    Informatica tool for Data Migration:

    A company purchases a new accounts payable application. PowerCenter can move the existing account data to the new application. Informatica preserves data lineage for tax, accounting, and other legally mandated purposes



    Informatica tool for Application Integration:

    Company A purchases Company B. So to achieve the benefits of consolidation, Company B’s billing system must be integrated into Company A’s billing system which can be easily done by Informatica


    Informatica tool for Datawarehousing

       Typical actions required in datawarehouses are: 

    • Data warehouses put information from many sources together for analysis
    • Data is moved from many databases to the Data warehouse

    All the above typical cases can be easily performed using Informatica


    Informatica tool for Middleware

    Informatica can connect a variety of sources, including most of the Application Sources. 

    • SAP certified Data Integration tool
    • Can pull and push data into SAP R3, SAP BW systems
    • Have connectivity adapter for majority of the Application Sources

    It can also be used as middleware between two applications like SAP R3, SAP BW etc.


    Now that you have understood what is Informatica, let us watch an Informatica Tutorial video to understand Informatica in further detail:

    Informatica Tutorial For Beginners 


    If you want to learn about Informatica Architecture step-by-step and use-case to further reinforce the power of Informatica, you can have a look at my Informatica Tutorial blog.

    Got a question for us? Please mention it in the comments section and we will get back to you.


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    • Hi Neel,

      Have gone thru your post on Informatica PowerCenter and pretty much impressed to know about this tool.

      Its SAP certified Data Integration tool & can pull and push data into SAP R3, SAP BW systems.
      Any idea that it even work with SAP S4HANA systems ?

      Alok M

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    What is Informatica: A Beginner Tutorial of Informatica PowerCenter