IBM has rolled out what it claims is the "first of its kind" in integrator software. The DB2 Information Integrator, codenamed Masala, has been released in beta and will allow companies to "make faster and more effective business decisions" according to Big Blue.

Masala integrates information from numerous sources by using automated features and search technology and comes with more than 100 new features, according to IBM, which focus on automation, faster access to relevant corporate data, and simplified deployment and integration across a wide and varied network.

It will give businesses a single view of their information and real-time access and integration of both proprietary and emerging data sources, including structured and unstructured data and regardless of the vendor the DB2 can tap into existing IT investments, IBM said.

The software means companies can both mange their data and access their data, explained senior IDC analyst Warren Shiau: "In a typical corporate environment, you’ll have all sorts of different places where your data will reside, from Oracle, SQL Server, or DB2. So the problem is how do you easily, or efficiently, access all the data or information that resides in these different places? If you have different stacks in your environment and you want to look at one business process that works across different databases - how do you efficiently, from one point or tool, access all that data?"

Businesses today are faced with a flood of information, including e-mail, spreadsheets, text files, flat files, XML content, voice mail and information from business partners across multiple business repositories. Gaining access to this information is a huge issue, IBM said. With its new product, companies could speed query results across federated data sources up to ten times faster than previously, reduce hand-coding requirements, and automatically be alerted to changes that could impact their systems' performance.

The competition in the integration space is competitive, but there is a demand for integration software and tools, said Shiau. "There are a lot of vendors who push the same sort of message, Oracle is a good example. For a few years now, they’ve been pushing the message around time management of process. So it is fairly crowded, but the IBMs and the Oracles tend to have an advantage over some of the other vendors because they have a very comprehensive product," Shiau said.

IBM said 40 percent of an organisation's annual IT budget addresses integration, a number that Shiau said is realistic, considering that the integration product commonly targets more complicated IT environments in the enterprise.