Ab Initio markets a variety of products that help in Data Integration, Data Management, Data Validation and Profiling. The most widely used products of Ab Initio are the GDE (Graphical Development Environment or the UI), the EME (Enterprise Meta Environment) and the Co Operating System (the brain, engine of tool). This review will concentrate mainly on these 3 products ffered by Ab Initio. The Ab Initio GDE provides a wide range of components that help in extracting data from any source (database, file, webservice, etc) transforming data and loading data into any target. Error handling and logging comes as a part of each component and can be modified as er user preference. The EME is the repository and provides version control and helps in dependency analysis (a concept where we can identify the impact of a code change across your project). The Co Operating system is the core or the compiler or the engine that runs the code developed in the Ab Initio GDE. The best feature of the Ab Initio tool is its ability to parallel process and the speed of processing volumes of data. The tool creates a Unix script behind the scene that can be wrapper and deployed as a job. The latest version of the tool comes with Big Data connectivity and can run Map/Reduce jobs as well. The transformations within Ab Initio are easy to write and have the drag-n-drop facility making it more intuitive. Anything and everything is possible in Ab Initio when it comes to extracting, transforming and loading data (and I can say this with confidence since I am using the tool for 8 years). Ab Initio also offers a product called Conduct It which helps in scheduling and running the code developed. Ab Initio offers continuous flows where jobs can be run continuously reading and transforming data real time. Such requirements are highly used in the telecom and banking domains to process real time transactions. Overall, Ab Initio is a highly scalable ETL tool that can be used to handle all the data related needs of an organization.
Well, all the cool things that Ab Initio offers come at a huge cost. Every product (GDE, EME, Co Op, Conduct It) comes under a license per user. The organization investing in Ab Initio would have to equally invest in hardware to make optimum use of the product.
I have used Ab Initio mainly for legacy modernization and data integration. I have seen customers use Ab Initio for data profiling, data cleansing and scrubbing. Ab Initio basically can solve any data driven challenges of an organization with speed and high accuracy.