Cloud Could Provide More, Better Integration Options

Loraine Lawson
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Data Integration Remains a Major IT Headache

Study shows that data integration is still costly and requires a lot of manual coding.

Could the cloud be the catalyst for better integration solutions? Absolutely, according to a recent piece penned by Hollis Tibbetts, a middleware and data management expert who writes for eBizQ.


"Pretty much any enterprise-class software that ends up in the Cloud becomes tremendously easier to use and faster to implement," explains Tibbetts. "It's not that the Cloud magically makes things better - it's that the software packages built for the Cloud are new, more cleanly architected, free of baggage and legacy problems. For example, many on-premises integration stacks have code dating back to the early 1990's, with user interfaces that would easily be at home in a Windows 95 environment."


That's part of why he's excited about open source MuleSoft's iON platform, which he says is the first full-functioning application integration suite built for the cloud. Tibbetts argues that iON marks the beginning of a long-overdue shift in the applications integration market.


That "applications integration" part is key. Most of what you read about cloud integration has to do with data integration.


Tibbetts does a great job of explaining the difference between application and data integration - a concept that can be tricky to understand if you don't deal with integration on a regular basis. Basically, data integration is just moving and changing the data at once in one big batch - although, there can be more to it than that.


Application integration, as Tibbetts explains, is used if you want to create a single business process that can be used across multiple, independent applications. It's event-driven and keeps the business logic across systems, which matters when you care about what order things happen in - as, for example, when there's an order and you don't want it to ship before the invoice is created or even paid.


Moving application integration to the cloud could lead to intriguing ramifications for the market, he notes. It could make the solutions easier to use and faster to implement, he writes.


But here's the big news: It could also make application integration cheaper. While on-premise solutions can cost you in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, MuleSoft uses the SaaS pricing model, with tiers as low as $150 a month, plus a pay-as-you-go model.


While Tibbetts sees the cloud renovating the whole application integration market, software analyst Julie Hunt is predicting we'll soon see more targeted "purpose-built" data integration solutions in and for the cloud.


At one time, "purpose-built" data integration would have been bundled onto an appliance, but now, we'll see these sort of special-use solutions made available as services, she contends. These cloud-based, purpose-built connectors will be quicker to deploy, more up-to-date than on-premise versions, with a pay-as-you-go fee structure that will make it more accessible to all companies.


"If such Cloud services are set up properly, data integration should now be available to less-technical users to handle integrations between specific applications," Hunt writes. "These services work with focused use cases where business users do not have to make lots of decisions about how the integrations will be accomplished."


It'll be interesting to see what kind of changes the New Year brings to cloud integration. If you'd like to ponder the potential now, sign up for tomorrow's (Dec. 15) Integration Developer News conference, Cloud-Con Integration.


It will feature a number of vendors, including Dell Boomi, IBM, Informatica, Jitterbit and SOA Software, with David Linthicum, the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, as the featured analyst. The free event starts at 10 a.m. PT or 1 p.m. EST, and will cover issues such as how to keep cloud integration simple, how to manage cloud to on-premise integration, and how to integrate with remote partners and suppliers.


In related news, expressor 3.5 is also hosting a live webinar tomorrow from 2-3 p.m. EST, to explain its new capabilities and its partnership with Melissa Data Quality tools.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Dec 16, 2011 12:42 PM Francis Carden Francis Carden  says:

Not sure what's new here. Cloud to Cloud integration is pretty easy (as long as the API's don't change and each cloud vendor is a good recipient of integration.

No, the hard part, and the biggest growth opportunity is CLOUD to GROUND integration. Where the Ground (Legacy Apps) are still key to the large enterprises but have few of the relevant API's.

30+ year old problem, not going away anytime soon but getting easier with Desktop Automation tools from my company.



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