Is Linkurious Enterprise an alternative to i2?

Law enforcement and intelligence analysis teams are often familiar with IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook. It’s not surprising as the software has been around since 2011. At Linkurious, we’re regularly asked by prospective clients whether Linkurious Enterprise is an alternative to IBM i2 Analyst’s Notebook in intelligence analysis. In order to help them we have put together a quick guide to outline the 4 differences between Linkurious Enterprise and IBM i2.

Highly scalable

IBM i2 comes in two main flavors. Most i2 users are using i2 Analyst’s Notebook, a standalone desktop application. As a standalone application, i2 Analyst’s Notebook can only handle a small dataset. For this reason some organizations invest in IBM i2 iBase, a proprietary IBM database that acts as a backend for i2 Analyst’s Notebook instances. I2 iBase relies on Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Access which can manage larger datasets than i2 Analyst’s Notebook. Unfortunately, relational databases are ill-suited for managing complex connected data at scale. The past years have seen the emergence of a new type of database called graph database which are optimized for the storage and querying of complex connected data. With built-in support for graph databases, analysts can use Linkurious Enterprise to:

  • Dynamically explore complex networks without suffering from slow performances
  • Detect complex patterns with graph analytics to identify suspicious activities

Open architecture

IBM’s i2 Analyst’s Notebook is a desktop application. It can be extended with other IBM products such as IBM i2 iBase. I2 clients are nonetheless restricted in terms of integrating the network analysis capabilities of i2 with other applications. Linkurious Enterprise has been built to leverage other tools (including open-source solutions such as ElasticSearch, Neo4j or JanusGraph) and to be easily integrated into existing applications via its web-based API.

visualize cosmos DB
Linkurious Enterprise’s open architecture means the ability to:

  • Leverage the booming ecosystem of graph databases to get the best performances at a competitive price
  • Integrate network visualization and analysis capabilities into existing tools to maximize the value of your IT investments

Built with collaboration in mind

As a desktop application, IBM i2 is not built for collaboration. Sharing results requires sending a file. In addition the person receiving that file will need to install the software on his or her computer. The end result is two people working on two separate files. Hardly convenient. Some of these limitations can be attenuated with the use of iBase or i2 analyse. With Linkurious Enterprise, working collaboratively is more intuitive. As a web application, Linkurious Enterprise is installed on a single server and accessible by users via their web browser, no installation required. Since everyone is using the same application, it becomes easy to share information. In Linkurious Enterprise, users have access to the same data and work on the same visualizations.
Linkurious Enterprise collaboration capabilities unlock the value of teamwork with:

  • Instant sharing of insights
  • A single source of truth instead of the complexity of managing multiple versions of documents
  • Ability to manage complex access rights to make sure the right person have access to the right information

Easy to use

What about the capabilities of the 2 products in terms of investigating complex networks? IBM i2 has added over the years a lot of functionalities to help its users. The wide range of functionalities can be hard to master. Linkurious Enterprise also provides the ability to style data, filter data, switch across layouts or edit data. Linkurious Enterprise focus is not just on providing features but also on making sure these features can actually be used. Among our clients are organizations such as ICIJ where Linkurious Enterprise users are journalists with no knowledge of network analysis. Our software is designed to be simple enough to be used quickly and effectively with limited training.
Linkurious Enterprise’s intuitive interface:

  • Helps bring network analysis to all analysts and not just power users
  • Accelerates the results of new users

IBM’s i2 Analyst’s Notebook has a long history and is well adapted for small scale projects with limited collaboration and experienced users. When combined with other IBM products such as iBase, i2 becomes more similar to Linkurious Enterprise. If your project includes a lot of data or requires extensive teamwork Linkurious Enterprise is a more natural fit. Similarly if you want to integrate your network analysis tool with other solutions or if you want to easily analysts without having to conduct extensive training, you may want to look into Linkurious Enterprise.
Do you want to make your own opinion? We’d be happy to let you try Linkurious Enterprise.

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