IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson talks to Frank Kenney, a former Gartner analyst, about why he's focused on application integration in the cloud while most are focused on data integration. Kenney is now the vice president of Global Strategy at Ipswitch File Transfer, which offers software for network monitoring and managed file transfer. He also explains how file transfer management technology can manage cloud services. In part one of this interview, Kenny explains why cloud service brokerages are needed.
"Managed file transfer has always been a part of application integration. In fact, it's probably the most successful way of integrating applications and I believe that it has been so successful that it tends to be overlooked by the traditional EAI guys-Tibco and IBM and Oracle. "
Lawson: What does Ipswitch do? The site talks about FTP protocols, which seems a little old school now.
Kenney: We are a company that helps people and systems manage the way that they interact with other people and systems.
A great example: I have to get you a PowerPoint. I can send that PowerPoint to you via e-mail, but if that PowerPoint is over a certain size, it may not go through e-mail and our marketing team and the executive team also wants to be aware of what type of PowerPoint Frank Kenney is sending out, so the ability to look at what's being sent out and make sure that it conforms to policy.
But it's also the same way that if you've got one system that needs to talk to another system. Let's say the implementation we're doing with Salesforce.com right now and we have our sales systems internal. Well, it's probably good that we put some type of an intermediary in to make sure Salesforce is doing what we're paying them to do and to make sure that things are properly filled out-there are no credit cards, Social Security numbers, tax ID numbers, confidential information going up into Salesforce as well. So we're a company that helps people and companies better manage the interactions that they have.
Lawson: Do you see Ipswitch now as fitting into that space of a cloud server broker, cloud middleman?
Kenney: Absolutely. Sixty to 70 percent of the data that's just flowing around your company is in these large batch files, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, flat files, mp3s, video files-I mean you're talking about upwards of 70 percent of what you move day in and day out are these types of files. The only type of technology that's really optimized to be able to move them around in a way that you can track and trace and still have a high degree of performance is managed file transfer, then manage file transfer technology becomes one of the logical solutions to brokering the conversations in between the cloud and the company.
Lawson: And how does that fit in with integration, which is what I primarily write about. When you talked about the cloud service brokerages, you talked about three areas: integration, security and a type of maintenance work. How does managed file transfer fit into that?
Kenney: From just the layman's everyday perspective, when we talk about EAI (enterprise application integration) or application integration, we talk about two different systems, designed differently, sharing information. The way that they share that information could be in short, quick transactional bursts, like when stock trades are put into NASDAQ or put into New York Stock Exchange, or they could be very large files like clearing houses that send gigabytes and terabytes of account information between banks or scans of checks. They're both forms of integration, so that's how managed file transfer fits into integration.
If I'm sending files out to my business partner and I am understanding who that business partner is, what format they want those files in, how quickly they want to receive those files, how they want to ensure security of those files and then how they want to create an audit trail for non-repudiation, I do that all day with B2B, right? Isn't that the same thing you do with cloud?