If your company uses SaaS at all, you should probably know about Boomi On-Demand.
You might be familiar with Boomi because of its Visual Integration Platform, a traditional integration platform that makes it possible to manage application integration via a Web browser. You buy it and run it on your server.
Of course, if it'll work through a Web browser, there's a good chance you could also run it through the Intertubes, which is exactly what Boomi figured out last year, when it launched a beta called Boomi OnDemand.
The beta apparently went well, because Tuesday, Boomi announced the general availability of Boomi OnDemand. Essentially, it's integration as a service. Boomi's pitch is that you can use its services to integrate SaaS applications -- the site lists specifically Salesforce, NetSuite, SmartTurn and Intacct - with on-site applications. You can find a full list here.
The press release quotes a number of analysts who have investigated Boomi. Since quotes can be misleading, I read several of the reports and, as it turns out, the experts do like Boomi.
David Linthicum authored one of the reports. He's better known these days as an SOA guru, but he's also an application integration specialist -- which makes sense, really, since that's essentially what SOA does.
Linthicum pointed out that SaaS integration presents different challenges than integration within the network -- which can be solved with SOA or EAI technology. So, if your company uses SaaS, Boomi might be a simpler, cheaper solution for you. Linthicum wrote,
Thus, it makes better sense to leverage an integration solution which is also delivered as a Service, in essence, operating on the same platform of the systems they are integrating. By doing this, you create architecture that is much more simplistic and cost effective, and thus has a much better chance of success.
Boomi offers a software component you can download for systems that use protocols not routable outside a firewall, according to Linthicum.
Of course, Boomi isn't the only integration-as-a-service provider out there, as Dennis Callaghan from the 451 Group pointed out in his November analysis. Cape Clear and MuleSource offer similar hosted services. The key distinction is that Boomi uses point-to-point integration, as opposed to loosely coupled integration. He also notes that Hubspan offers hosted integration-as-a-service, and so competes with Boomi in B2B integration, but doesn't offer businesses integration with internal applications.
To sum up: Look at Boomi if you're using SaaS providers and you need to integrate to on-site applications. In this case, Boomi may be cheaper than other methods of integration. This may not be the solution for you, however, if you have a spaghetti bowl full of integration points to connect.