Ab Initio

Ab Initio

Ab Initio Software Corporation was founded in the mid 1990's by the former CEO of Thinking Machines Corporation, Sheryl Handler, and several other former employees after the bankruptcy of that company.

The Ab Initio software is a fourth generation powerful data analysis, batch processing, data manipulation graphical user interface (GUI)-based parallel processing tool which is commonly used to extract, transform and load data.

The Ab Initio software is a suite of products which together provide a platform for data processing applications. The Core Ab Initio products are:

*Co>Operating System
*The Component Library
*Graphical Development Environment
*Enterprise Meta>Environment
*Data Profiler

The Co>Operating System

Runs across a variety of Operating Systems and Hardware Platforms including OS/390, zOS on Mainframe, Unix, Linux, and Windows. Supports distributed and parallel execution. Can provide scalability proportional to the hardware resources provided. Supports platform independent data transport using the Ab Initio data manipulation language. The Co>Operating System is the underlying system of all parts of the product suite allowing communication and integration of all parts into the platform. It will also help the native operating system to understand the Ab Initio commands. This tool comes with a very high performance data processing capability with its parallel data manipulation technique.

The Component Library

Reusable software Modules for Sorting, Joining, Data Transformation, Database Loading, etc.The components adapt at runtime to the record formats and business rules controlling their behavior. Components also include various system "connectors" giving access to various storage engines.

The Graphical Development Environment

Provides graphical interface for editing and executing Ab Initio computer programs. This development environment utilizes the available components from the library to enable various ETL activities to occur. The Co>Operating System can execute these programs directly. Allows for monitoring of running applications to quantify data volumes and execution times for performance estimation.

An Ab Initio computer program is called a graph as it behaves similar to its math counterpart. A graph contains one or more components or vertices, each joined by a flow or edge through which data flows. Data flows only in one direction, which allows the graph to run in a parallel processing environment. Each graph is compiled by the GDE into a Korn Shell script which can be run by the Co>Operating System. It is also possible to write Ab Initio programs without the GDE using a common text editor.

Enterprise Meta>Environment

Along with the Development environment and Co>Operating system is a datastore which tracks changes in development of graphs, as well as metadata pertaining to the development, how data is used, and potential of other means of data classification. The storage of graph related Metadata allows for data impact analysis to occur, giving the user a visual sense of how the data is changing in a graph, and the impacts those changes have on another graph. Additionally the EME doubles up for config/change management allowing the latest version of a graph to reside past subsequent code changes thereby ensuring the latest code and data. It performs the following operations:
# version controlling,
#statistical analysis,
#dependence analysis, and
#metadata management.

Data Profiler

The Data Profiler is a graphical data analysis tool which runs on top of the Co>Operating system. It can be used to characterize data range, scope, distribution, variance, and quality.


Ab Initio Plan>It helps developer to create and manage large-scale data processing systems. Plan>It provides a framework to create a complete production-ready system consisting of Ab Initio graphs, custom scripts, and third-party programs.

External links

* [http://www.inc.com/magazine/19950915/2622.html The Rise and Fall of Thinking Machines] , "Inc. Magazine", September 1995

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