IBM is buying Ascential for $1.1 Billion

IBM is spending $1.1 billion in cash to buy Ascential Software, maker of the popular DataStage ETL tool.

This is another sign that the BI industry is undergoing consolidation. Now, all three big players in the data warehousing field (Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM) have a capable ETL tool to offer to the business intelligence crowd. In terms of filling a void, IBM did a good job. However, if I am a DataStage customer, I’d be a little worried.

Why? Because 1) IBM is gradually becoming a services company, and buying Ascential does not exactly fit into this mode. 2) The fate of a standalone tool that got bought into a big company usually isn’t very good.

If I were a DataStage customer, this might be a good time to review your investment in DataStage. Is the software being used to capacity? Are there cheaper alternatives? Also, another thing worth considering is whether if you are already an IBM shop. If you are, you’ll probably be fine, as IBM will definitely make sure DataStage continues to support the IBM product family. If you are not, there is always the risk that IBM will make DataStage such an integral component of its BI suite that support for other platforms becomes lackluster.