"While this is our first experience with an ETL tool, we were very thorough with our evaluations. Centerprise suits our needs perfectly. It has all the functionality we need, it is easy to use, it keeps the data together so it can be centrally managed, and it is the most cost effective."
Production of premium quality wines is the economic engine that drives the Lodi-Woodbridge region. Supported by over 90,000 acres of vineyards that surround the Lodi community, Lodi-Woodbridge grape growers annually produce a crop worth more than $350 million. Nearly 40 percent of California’s premium wine grapes are grown in this region, making Lodi the “Winegrape Capital of the World.”
After evaluating a range of available ETL tools, the IS team selected Astera’s Centerprise Data Integrator because it delivered enterprise-level functionality, an intuitive user interface, and was the most cost-effective solution for the city’s needs.
The many financial and planning systems’ data is kept in disparate databases that are shared among internal departments. Additionally, the City of Lodi wanted to share information and services securely to its businesses and taxpayer customers. Maintenance and integration had always been done using an intermediate Access database and scripting and hand coding. As the city's systems multiplied, this means of sharing data quickly became too cumbersome to achieve project success and maintain on an ongoing basis.
Steve Mann, IS Manager, was charged with investigating data integration tools as a means to deliver the city's growing number of projects and take some of the data maintenance burden off his team.
The city's integration requirements were fairly straightforward; transfer data from one location to another securely, efficiently, and quickly.
“We needed to be able to move data from disparate sources to a target, manipulate it, and exchange data between sources. And we needed to do it easily, quickly, and, since we are very conscientious with taxpayer money, affordably,’ said Mann.
As the city was using a variety of database servers, including Oracle, MySQL, DB2, and SQL Server, the solution had to be versatile. The core financial and billing systems were housed in IBM DB2 databases and it was necessary for the integration platform to be able to move the data into MySQL, as well as draw information maps with Access and the SQL server, and create files in a number of formats for sharing on the other end. The manual execution of this solution was becoming a burden, so the new solution had to be more automated. Additionally, the solution needed to be centralized, as multiple team members would be working on projects at different times.
Although the city itself has a population of over 63,000 within just over 13 square miles, its school district, retail, medical, and other service industries serve an estimated 175,000 customers, as well as business, trade, and visitors. The City of Lodi has invested heavily in its infrastructure and downtown revitalization plan, as well as a commitment to e-services to better serve the community. The city's information systems (IS) department is responsible for maintaining and integrating all financial and planning data and serving it electronically to its internal and external users securely, efficiently, and cost effectively.
Mann and his team selected Astera’s Centerprise Data Integrator because it fit Lodi’s requirements, allowing them to simply transfer data from one table to another with whatever database server they needed to connect to.
“While this is our first experience with an ETL tool, we were very thorough with our evaluations. Centerprise suits our needs perfectly. It has all the functionality we need, it is easy to use, keeps the data together so it can be centrally managed, and it is the most cost effective,” said Mann. “It is very important to get the functionality we need, and not pay for what we don’t need."
The team also takes advantage of Centerprise’s built-in scheduler to automate transfer jobs, eliminating the need for the old manual process involving Access. “We are able to write transfer, save, and schedule it to launch whenever. We use the scheduling functionality a lot. We depend on Centerprise. We use it extensively and it has allowed us to share information internally and externally quickly and securely,” said Mann.
The city has been able to share information and connect with its customers more rapidly thanks to its ability to rapidly and securely share information with Centerprise. For example, Centerprise is used to create files from the databases that become source files for web pages, for both internal and external customers. This means that the public can look up business license information, as well as the city’s public utility accounts, and have their results delivered online.
Because the data on the database is housed internally, for obvious security reasons, sharing this data electronically previously would have been too risky as well as burdensome. With Centerprise, the data is easily exported automatically into another database platform from the core systems, and the data can then become source files, giving the public the information they want and need without exposing the core systems to security threats.
“Centerprise allows my team to better share information internally and provides the ability to make the call as to what information and services they can offer to the public, easily, rapidly, and securely,” said Mann.
And "rapidly" has been key. Centerprise gives the team the ability to write a transfer, save it, and schedule it to launch when it wants using the scheduling functionality.
“Centerprise meets our needs for rapid deployment. Now, we can have transfers done in a matter of minutes that would have previously taken us a day, or days.” Mann and his team have been so pleased with Centerprise and its functionality that they recently upgraded. “We saw the additional features and functionality and definitely envision using them as we progress. And because we use it so extensively, we want to ensure we stay current with the software,” said Mann.
In addition to the functionality and cost-effectiveness of the software, Mann and his team have been thrilled with Astera’s responsiveness. Some can be hesitant to purchase an enterprise-level product from a lesser-known company, but Mann is very pleased.
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