Cloud/SaaS Integration Theme for 2010? Caveat Emptor

Loraine Lawson

I'm not big on making predictions. Read them? Sure. But making them? I think that's a bad move for someone whose Magic Eight Ball was forever stuck on "Ask again later."

 

However, there is one prediction I feel pretty safe in making right now: We'll hear more negative stories about using SaaS and cloud computing in 2010. And I'm not saying that just because seconds ago, when I asked the CGI Magic Eight Ball, "Will we hear more negative stories about SaaS/cloud computing in 2010," it responded, "Absolutely!"

 

No, it's a safe prediction because we're already starting to see more about caveats about the cloud and SaaS, particularly when it comes to integration and legacy applications.

 

In October, for instance, Kevin Fogarty of IDG wrote a piece called "Five Problems Keeping Legacy Apps Out of the Cloud," in which he observed that cloud was "preparing for a dive into the 'Trough of Disillusionment.'"

 

Fogarty published a second piece this month on the problems with moving legacy apps to the cloud. Normally, these types of articles are rewrites, but he's actually added to the original list of caveats in this piece, "Legacy Apps in the Cloud: Six Details Worth Sweating," including:

  • Visibility into who uses the data for what,
  • Sprawl, and
  • Scale.

 

He also offers a bit more detail about the problems with standards in legacy data, citing information from David Linthicum, author of "Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide,":

In the cloud, no matter how well your main application runs with compute resources you can increase at will, mapping or conversion scripts may not be able to link as tightly with either the data or chain of reporting routines that just won't work without a little data tweak here and there.

Oddly, he doesn't mention the whole licensing issue with legacy applications, which can cause a whole other set of problems, as IT Business Edge's Ann All pointed out last month.

 

Fogarty isn't the only one taking a tougher look at cloud and SaaS solutions as we head into 2010. Last week, technologist and entrepreneur Andre Yee wrote about the new data silos being produced by SaaS solutions.

 

More data silos? Just what IT needs, right? But, as Yee says, that's what happens when business units can invest in tech solutions-aka, "rogue IT" without the oversight offered by centralized IT:

Bypassing this corporate IT 'red tape' also meant bypassing any corporate level planning. What has occurred as a result is a preponderance of point SaaS solutions that aren't actively managed or integrated with one another. As a result, data integration has become a major challenge in many organizations. And it's not just SaaS applications that need to be integrated with each other.

OK, so that's happened even before we had SaaS-big deal, you might think. But Yee contends that integration SaaS with on-premise applications can actually be a bigger challenge than integration with the more traditional rogue IT silos.

 

There are integration solutions, he points out. But what would be more helpful is to address integration before you-or the business units-invest further in the cloud. To counter this, he suggests you look at two key issues before you sign on with a SaaS company:

  1. Does the company offer integration with your most important enterprise applications?
  2. Does the SaaS company "offer a comprehensive and open API, providing access to their data and services? It's important not only to have access to the data, but to also have comprehensive access to the services that process the data?" Just ensuring they offer such an API can save you lots of custom code down the line, he writes.

 

Of course, all of this boils down to advice that's still as true in 2010 as 1817: Caveat emptor.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Dec 29, 2009 7:20 AM Harsh Harsh  says:

I think this blogs points out a very important aspect ( mostly shunned by the Cloud Enthusiasts ). Large Enterprises have very complex business processes that are supported by large applications like SAP. The SaaS applications first has to grow on the edges( edge business processes) that complement the core processes. Hence integration becomes a natural characteristics for any SaaS offering. Only this can make logical sense for enterprises to invest in cloud/SaaS .

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Apr 11, 2011 5:42 AM yasmine delaco yasmine delaco  says:

Now a days every one, every company has (or needs) a computer. Also we, as private users need to protect their privacy and personal informations. Most of the companies are using Cloud Computing protection, is the best on the market. Even the company where I work use this soft. I saw that is good so I was thinking to find a home version, for my personal use.

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