Five Reasons Integration Is Changing

    Slide Show

    The Challenges of Gaining Useful Insight into Data

    Integration and SOA/cloud consultant David Linthicum’s recent whitepaper for vendor SnapLogic puts forth an intriguing thesis on the death of traditional data integration.

    “Integration, in terms of problem and solution patterns, has not changed a great deal in the last 20 years,” Linthicum writes. “Many of today’s approaches and technologies function much the same as they did in 1997. While the functionality has increased and the prices have dropped, the future gap between the requirements upon this traditional technology and what’s actually on the market will be significant.”

    He backs this up with a well-constructed argument about the evolution of integration tools in the emergence of new challenges. Obviously, those challenges include Big Data and the cloud.

    I found Linthicum’s whitepaper via Joe McKendrick at ZDNet. Linthicum is a credible expert on this topic — I’ve often sought him out for his opinion —but McKendrick’s recommendation gives it some extra weight.

    To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of this piece until I thought about it for a day or two. After all, it’s written for SnapLogic and obviously supports that vendor’s cloud-based integration approach.  And then there’s the evidence to suggest that the oldest approach to integration — hand coding — is still very much in use, even with the cloud.

    And is this really the death of traditional data integration? I don’t think it matters.

    After all, the old ways have been dying for some time now. Gartner combined its ETL, EAI and EII reports into one “enterprise data integration platform” report back in 2006.

    All of which is irrelevant, because the bottom line is: Linthicum is right. There are so many emerging technologies and techniques that it’s an exciting time to be involved with data. Studies show even the stodgiest of enterprises are embracing the five data evolutions Linthicum identifies:

    1. Cloud computing
    2. Mass data storage
    3. Complex data, such as unstructured data
    4. A service-based approach to data (which is key to mobile apps and wider use of enterprise analytics)
    5. Streaming data, mobile data and the related data security challenges (okay, technically, that’s three, but we’ll let it slide)

    Data Integration

    None of this will be new to you, faithful reader, but Linthicum has put it in one easily digestible, free download that you can share with the less informed. Data and our use of it is evolving, but it can only evolve in so far as your approach to integration evolves with it. Linthicum does an excellent job of explaining this and why it requires new approaches to integration. He’s also done a good job of identifying what that new technology should be—although I will point out this is usually where sponsored whitepapers show a bias in that they tend to selectively highlight features the vendor offers while neglecting others. That being said, nothing really stands out to me as particularly vendor-specific here.

    The report is available for free download, but you do have to give user registration information. If you’re one of those folks who hate giving basic user registration, Slideshare has a SnapLogic presentation that covers most of the information.

    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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