How Cloud Infrastructure Speed Affects Data Integration

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    Five Critical Questions to Ask Before Moving Data to the Cloud

    It’s clear that our relationship to data is changing, both in terms of how we work with data and our relationship on individual levels. That, in turn, is triggering changes in the underlying technologies.

    Integration technology in particular is in the spotlight these days. After all, you can use the data only as fast as you can integrate, wrangle or blend the data. That’s leading to a lot of talk from vendors about “modern integration” that’s less concerned with on-premise, batch integration and more concerned with real-time access for business users.

    At Informatica’s recent customer conference, CEO Sohaib Abbasi identified four disruptive technology trends changing data. His opinion is more significant than most because he heads one of the industry’s leading integration vendors, and despite a thriving data integration market, that company was recently acquired.

    I actually think there are more than four trends, and so in the next few posts, I’ll be discussing these disruptions and why they matter. Hopefully, this will help CIOs and other IT leaders separate hype from reality, which is always a challenge with data integration, so they can determine which solutions will best fit their data needs.

    So, with apologies to Abbasi for borrowing his idea, let’s look at the first disruptive trend.

    Cloud Infrastructure

    When you think of cloud and data, you probably think about cloud applications. While integrating cloud data has certainly increased demand for integration solutions, SaaS alone wasn’t enough to disrupt integration. Vendors quickly adapted by adding APIs and other connectors for cloud-based applications and sales boomed.

    The economics of cloud infrastructure, on the other hand, is a game changer and is the first disrupter identified by Abbasi and other industry experts. 

    Why It Matters

    In a word, cloud infrastructure matters because of speed, both for deployment and the speed of the integration itself, experts say.

    “One of the reasons people move to the cloud is because they expect applications to be deployed faster, therefore they expect the integration to happen faster,” Gartner vice president and research fellow Massimo Pezzini told Information Age.

    Cloud Computing

    One reason for that is that cloud infrastructure systems tend to leverage complex distributed computing platforms. Integration solutions need to be able to accommodate that architecture, writes cloud and integration expert David Linthicum.

    In “The Death of Traditional Data Integration,” a whitepaper sponsored by SnapLogic, Linthicum identifies his own list of “evolutions” that are changing data integration. Cloud computing tops the list. Linthicum argues that cloud infrastructure requires a service-oriented approach to integration. Service-enabled integration is faster than traditional integration patterns and less fragile — two traits that are particularly important in the cloud. Primarily, service-based integration is achieved through web services, which are often described as easy — but that doesn’t mean your IT department will know how to build those integrations, Seth Robinson, senior director of Technology Analysis for the firm, told me in November.

    “If anything, cloud integration may be even more challenging for firms as it requires web APIs that may be unfamiliar to the technical team,” he said. “Integration may be complicated by lines of business procuring their own applications without being aware of how they will fit into the overall system.”

    That’s one reason why the economics of integration aren’t changing, even though the economics of infrastructure are. A CompTIA study found that integration costs tend to hover around 10 to 15 percent of the total cost for any given project, whether on-premise or in the cloud.

    Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

    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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