Analysts are always saying you need to choose the right technology for the business needs. They say this as if the right technology becomes as plain as the nose on your face, if only you'd first consider the needs of the business.
It's good advice -- but it's not as simple as it sounds. The longer I investigate integration and talk with integration solution providers, the more I realize how many options there are to address the same business needs.
Take, for instance, the unusual solution offered by CodeMesh. I spoke recently with Alex Krapf, president of CodeMesh, about his company's approach to application integration. Their solution translates the application itself, moving code between .NET and Java, for instance. They call it in-process integration.
"You also have very, very little call overhead. Rather than packaging everything up in an XML message, and sending it across the network to the server, the server un-packaging it and translating it into the other language, nothing of that happens - it's just a straight function call. ... You've heard loose coupling in large systems is typically a design goal? Our integration solution is a very tightly coupled integration solution."
It's used when you need high-performance processing and can be an alternative to Web services. Krapf said customers will often ask him why they should use his product when they could opt for something free. His answer is very simple.
"I say, 'Well, try it out. You have an integration problem, and any integration problem can be solved in a million different ways. The question is, what are your technical criteria?'
And, really, isn't that what it comes down to? Certainly, consider the needs of the business first. But ultimately, IT must translate that need into a technical solution.
In other integration-related news this week: MomentumSI Unveils SOA Framework. MomentumSI is a national IT consultancy specializing in SOA, packaged solutions and software development. This week, the company announced a new offering -- Harmony, which it says is a SOA framework that "blends enterprise architectural methods with practical implementation techniques." Essentially, it's a subscription service that gives you access to materials to help you build your own SOA, including SOA lifecycle practice guides, policies, workflows, reference models, standards for SOA taxonomies, and templates for analysis, planning and testing.
Appliance Receives SAP Certified Integration Status. If you're an SAP shop and you're looking to deploy or revamp a WAN, you might be interested in Blue Coat Systems' recent announcement. Its ProxySG appliance version 5 recently received SAP Certified Integration status. Basically, this means the appliance has been tested with SAP applications and it works. The press release ties this into SOA:
"The SAP Certified Integration affirms that enterprises deploying SAP services and applications using an enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) can achieve improved performance, security and reliability through using Blue Coat ProxySG appliances."
More impressive, however, is what the appliance demonstrated in SAP's lab tests. It decreased response times for remote users of SAP software by up to 97 times, while reducing the bandwidth consumption by up to 99 percent.