But I'd like to further consider the tangential question he eludes to, and which Phil Wainwright recently asked during a Q&A on managing integration: Why, if organizations already have integration middleware, do they need special tools for the cloud?
I suspect business leaders could eventually wonder the same thing. I mean, the underlying assumption is that they're not designed for that sort of integration. But if you step back and consider Bloor's point that much of this already exists in the enterprise, and it really isn't that different-technologically speaking-in the Web, then it's a darn good question, particularly when you consider that often, these technologies are used in hybrid situations where you're connecting the cloud to on-premise applications.
Wainwright poised the question to Boomi's CTO and co-founder, Rick Nucci. If you're unfamiliar with Boomi, it's a pure-play cloud integration vendor.
Historically, there are two types of solutions that address similar integration challenges, according to Nucci: in-house integration middleware and B2B systems integrators. But neither, he adds, were built with the cloud in mind, which means they fall short in different areas, including security, the ability to audit and trace data, content-based routing, decision logic and data governance or ownership.
Cloud-specific solutions address these and other issues, he contends. You can get his full answer by either listening to the podcast or reading the transcription.
Nucci also discusses the importance of centralized management when it comes to integrating in the cloud, and I think he makes an excellent point when he says that since integration can be distributed between on-premise and cloud applications, it's even more important that management be centralized:
While the development environment and the management environment should be centralized and should be accessible in one place, where the integration's actually running is a whole different story, because integration really needs to run at the location of the data that's being integrated.
If you're interested in specific solutions, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, a solutions architect at Hewlett Packard, recently compiled a short list of what he considers the top cloud integration platforms and tools. He explores the pros and cons of each. Keep in mind he's not trying to include all the options, but just the ones he considers to be the leading platforms. I'm not sure what his criteria was, so don't complain to me. It includes: