I've covered integration for IT Business Edge for nearly two years. In all that time, news about enterprise information integration-better known as EII-has been almost non-existent.
Too quiet, as they say in old Westerns.
Forrester analysts Rob Karel and James Kobielus have noticed it, too. In fact, they tackle the issue head-on in a blog post titled, appropriately enough, "Whatever Happened To EII?"
You probably think EII was just overhyped and petered out, right? Not exactly. EII was quickly overshadowed by ESBs, ETL and other integration solutions. But instead of disappearing, it became absorbed into niche applications and bigger products. Both companies and vendors viewed EII as a complementary, rather than a competing, solution, according to the post.
It makes sense, when you consider Forrester's definition of EII as "an umbrella term" that includes a collection of technologies and best practices, "for providing custom views into multiple data sources as a way of integrating data and content for real-time read and write access by applications."
The piece explores how EII affected the integration market, as well as what happened to various EII vendors, who were either acquired or shifted their focus to SOA or Information as a Service (IaaS). Ironically, Forrester notes, just as the EII market "essentially disappeared as a recognized standalone segment," we're finally capable of realizing some of it's promised goals, such as virtual data warehousing.
Karel and Kobielus close with this bit of advice:
"So integration architects should take a step back and consider all of the options within the integration acronym buffet not as competing tools, but complementary techniques that must build the foundation for your organization's cross-enterprise integration competency."