Businesses Weigh Benefits of Cloud Integration over Traditional Middleware

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    Four Best Practices for Accelerating Time-to-Value of Master Data Management

    I keep reading how troublesome cloud to on-premise integration is, but a recent article makes me think that maybe it’s not really that big of a problem.

    TechTarget shared the experience of Geezeo, Inc., a software service provider for banks and credit unions. Back in 2009, the company began using cloud networking with Amazon Web Services. The integration challenge faced by this company was establishing a quasi-tunnel or switching-tunnel architecture between applications and customer data. The use of Amazon EC2 complicated that plan, according to the company’s CTO.

    To solve the integration issue, Geezeo cobbled something together, but it cost them 15 hours of employee time each week in monitoring and maintenance.

    The punch line is this: The company felt that was just too much to spend. So it found a “non-traditional data center product” that could direct and manage the traffic instead.

    Now, I don’t want to downplay that expense at all, but to put some perspective to that, you have to think that even at $100,000, the original solution would be $50,000 a year. By comparison, in 2008, Gartner estimated companies were spending $200,000 to $500,000 for integration software licensing alone, plus an additional $50,000 to $100,000 for annual maintenance.

    I’ll grant you, comparing one integration solution to an integration platform is not apples to apples. Still, it may help explain why, despite integration concerns, companies are flocking to the cloud.

    Cloud integration is actually replacing on-premise integration middleware, according to Jiten Patil, a cloud expert and technology consultant for global tech services company Persistent System. Patil told TechTarget that companies are moving more integration work in general to cloud-based, multi-tenant and self-service SaaS applications.

    Still, ZDNet reports that a recent survey found that only 16 percent of businesses have fully integrated systems, so plenty more companies have yet to fully invest. And that’s exactly what integration platform as a service (iPaaS) companies have in mind.

    Thanks to the demand for cloud integration, MuleSoft is “quietly” becoming a cloud powerhouse, according to a recent InformationWeek news piece.

    Investors value the company at $800 million in its last funding round, and the company anticipates a $500 billion market for enterprise connectivity that will include integrating SaaS apps and the Internet of Things. The company is bracing itself now to capture that growth market. In addition to its funding rounds and connector growth, MuleSoft plans to double its number of employees this year.

    MuleSoft now owns 200 connectors for integrating either on-premise or via its own CloudHub service, which runs on Amazon Web Service. The company has managed to accumulate new funding, too, with three recent rounds of venture capital funding, including $50 million backed by network giant Cisco.

    That’s not bad for a company that started with an open source ESB.

    Of course, MuleSoft isn’t the only company gunning for a big slice of that cloud/BYOD/Internet of Things/Mobile pie, as Arthur Cole recently explored in his Infrastructure blog.

    In the TechTarget article, Patil shared a list of eight tips for successful cloud integration, which were conveniently pulled out as a sidebar. But McKendrick and Associates analyst and ZDNet SOA blogger Joe McKendrick also offers his advice on cloud integration.

    In particular, McKendrick says if you’re moving data to the cloud, you should couple that project with master data management (MDM).

    “MDM is essential to any data integration project, as it establishes a single master ‘gold copy’ of data, versus separate, siloed data sets,” he told TechTarget.

    That’s savvy advice that companies will ignore at their peril.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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