Sagent Moving From ETL Toward Business Intelligence

Sagent Technology Inc. ( is racing into a broader market with Version 4.0 of the Sagent Solution.

Sagent has been known primarily as a competitor in the extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) segment of the data warehousing market. There, Sagent competes against companies such as Informatica Corp. ( and Ardent Software Inc. (

The market has been tightening lately, and the release of Microsoft’s flagship RDBMS upgrade, SQL Server 7.0, is expected to constrain it considerably. For free with the upgraded RDBMS, Microsoft packages its own Data Transformation Services (DTS), which allow database administrators to map and move data from existing systems into SQL Server 7.0. DTS should make it more difficult for ETL vendors to sell tools that do the same thing, even if they do it considerably better, for tens of thousands of dollars.

Sagent’s approach to this problem, unveiled today (Monday) in Sagent Solution Version 4.0, is to expand outward in several directions. Sagent is rolling out new enterprise Web reporting features and saying the product will compete with business intelligence (BI) tools from Cognos Corp. (, Brio Technology Inc. (, Business Objects (, Actuate Software Corp. ( and Information Advantage Inc. ( At the same time, Sagent has integrated Version 4.0 tightly with SQL Server 7.0.

Sagent’s selling point on BI is that while other BI tools rely on an existing data warehouse or data mart, Sagent’s version can bring "end-to-end" functionality, allowing users to build the data warehouse or mart with the same product, using Sagent’s ETL functions. Hummingbird Communications Ltd. ( indicated it would move toward that kind of product, from the other direction, with the recent acquisition of a European ETL tool, Genio by Leonard’s Logic.

Sagent calls its Web reporting element Sagent Reports. The product will optimize Sagent’s existing multi-tier architecture and use streaming and indexing technology to improve client-access speeds, the company says.

In the past, Sagent has partnered with Seagate Software ( for reporting functionality through Seagate’s Crystal Reports product. While, the product would put Sagent squarely in competition with Seagate on several fronts, company literature listing competitors omits Seagate. Sagent officials say the relationship with Seagate will continue in some areas.

In the pure ETL area, Sagent is positioning 4.0 as offering more advanced capabilities for ETL functions on SQL Server 7.0. The product "enables users to ’upsize’ their data transformation projects from Microsoft DTS to Sagent Solution 4.0 smoothly and easily," Sagent says. Aside from supporting SQL Server 7.0 as a data source, Sagent’s upgrade includes integration with Microsoft Repository and with Microsoft OLAP Services through Microsoft’s MDX language.

Sagent Solution 4.0 is scheduled to ship within 30 days at prices starting around $50,000. -- Scott Bekker, Staff Reporter

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.