By contrast, Talend jobs can be packaged up and deployed anywhere a Java Virtual Machine or Perl interpreter can reside. Jobs can also be embedded directly into your Java apps or even encapsulated as REST/SOAP Web services via easy export.
Not that Talend is suitable to every enterprise project. It's light on the connectors to mainframes and minis that you'll find in commercial products such as ETI Solution V6, a comparable code-generating solution that can output native code in Java as well as Cobol, C/C++, and SAP.
Open source competitor Pentaho Data Integration (Kettle), despite taking a black-box approach, does offer good control over distributed processing, as well as integration into a more elaborate set of tools for BI and EAI. Nevertheless, I prefer Talend; it's better developed and more extensible than Kettle, and it offers superb data governance.
Deploying the pieces of Talend Open Studio -- namely Job Designer, Business Modeler, and the repository manager -- is straightforward. I installed to a Windows Server 2003 platform with Sun JVM and ActiveState Perl, and was quickly off and running. (ActiveState, incidentally, has a great new rev of Komodo IDE and Perl dev tools that are worth a look.)
The Business Modeler component -- a nice touch for Talend -- is a piece of the puzzle often omitted even at the commercial level. The Business Modeler provides a pallet of components that allow nontechnical analysts to build a view of the system and its workflows, without ever touching a drop of Java. The result gets turned over to developers, who flesh out the details using the Job Modeler, an Eclipse-based IDE and debugger.
The Job Modeler will put any Eclipse-seasoned developer at ease with its own pallet of drag-and-drop components. It also provides access to the central repository, which holds all of your organization's business models, job designs, metadata, documentation, and connection-specific information.
The latest version of Job Modeler adds collapsible subroutines for easier navigation. Other niceties include quick tabbing between graphical layout and code, a job scheduling interface (that puts a GUI on the Unix crontab command), and a thumbnail overview for easy navigation of large document layouts.
I liked the tMap component for defining my transforms and data routings. Although it was reminiscent of an old switchboard with wires strewn about, it was ultimately fast and effective. An Automap option saves time setting up initial connections.