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Where previously HVR could capture data updates if it had access to the underlying database — relational databases for SAP ECC or the HANA database for the newer SAP S/4HANA ERP — now it can work the same magic through SAP’s NetWeaver middleware. That’s important because the majority of SAP customers get an embedded database as part of their ERP license and don’t have direct database access, said Joe deBuzna, the VP of product and enterprise at HVR. Going through Netweaver also has the virtue of simplicity, he added. “Instead of going against tables named with German acronyms, I can just pick the business module.”
Each player in the market for data integration tools strives to present its customers with a more comprehensive offering. In Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the sector, Fivetran and HVR were shown neck-and-neck in the niche players’ category, meaning they excel in a particular area, along with Matillion, Safe Software, Adeptia, and CloverDX. The industry leaders are mostly very established companies like Informatica, IBM, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, all of which Gartner credits with supporting a variety of data integration styles. Talend and privately held data virtualization innovator Denodo also qualify as leaders, in Gartner‘s analysis.
Just last month, Fivetran announced the acquisition of HVR for nearly $700 million in cash and stock, funded in part by a $565 million series D round of funding that valued the company at $5.6 billion. It also recently acquired database replication specialist Teleport Data for an undisclosed price.
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Fivetran specializes in the extract, transform, and load (ETL) process for moving data into data warehouses, and one of its strengths is its variety of connections to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and cloud-based analytic platforms. HVR excels in log-based change data capture, meaning that instead of attempting to replicate an entire database in bulk it watches for database updates and captures just the new information. Monitoring the database logs, rather than using database triggers to detect changes, allows HVR to replicate data in near real time while minimizing the performance on operational databases, deBunza said.
Pre-acquisition, both Fivetran and HVR were getting “dinged” in reports like Gartner’s for lacking capabilities that the other had, and merging saved them the trouble of developing those features independently, deBunza explained. “The DNA of the companies is very similar. Just tell us, what data do you need, and where do you need it?”
SAP data replication overview
SAP claims 94 percent of the world’s 500 largest companies as its customers, so integrating with its ERP platform is important for any player with a claim to enterprise data integration prowess. Like everyone else, SAP customers are also managing increasingly complex hybrid cloud environments. According to SAPinsider’s SAP Integration Landscape Benchmark Report, the average number of systems survey participants said they were integrating rose from seven to 11 in the past year. Thirteen percent of those surveyed reported that they were integrating 20 or more systems. While SAP provides its own integration tools, survey participants who reported the greatest success tended to also make use of third-party integration tools.
SAP created the HANA database partly to break free of SAP data entanglements with the likes of Oracle, one of the company’s major competitors in the ERP market. Its goal was architecting a database that would perform well for both operational and analytical tasks. However, even S/4HANA users may want to extract ERP data and combine it with other data, perhaps in a cloud database like Snowflake or Databricks.
(Update: And just last week, Microsoft acquired Clear Software, a specialist in connectivity to SAP and Oracle APIs and databases, which it plans to use in combination with its Power Platform low-code development tools.)
Matt Turk and John Wu, the FirstMark VCs who recently published a machine learning, AI, and data landscape report, include Fivetran on their Emerging MAD Index of private companies in the sector with high potential. Combined, the companies on their list have raised $12.9 billion in venture capital, earning a valuation of just shy of $119 billion.
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